A review of impact resistant biological and bioinspired materials and structures

Benjamin S. Lazarus, Audrey Velasco-Hogan, Teresa Gómez-del Río, Marc A. Meyers, Iwona Jasiuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biological systems must have the capability to withstand impacts generated during collisions due to combat and defense. Thus, evolution has created complex materials’ architectures at various length scales that are capable of withstanding repeated, low-to-medium-velocity impacts (up to 50 m/s). In this paper, we review impact resistant biological systems with a focus on their recurrent structural design elements, material properties, and energy absorbing mechanisms. We classify these impact resistant structures at the micro- and meso-scales into layered, gradient, tubular, sandwich, and sutured and show how they construct global hierarchical, composite, porous, and interfacial architectures. Additionally, we review how these individual structures and their design parameters can provide a tailored response. We conclude with a future outlook and discussion of their potential for impact resistant bioinspired designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15705-15738
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Materials Research and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Bioinspiration
  • Biological materials
  • Hierarchical materials
  • Impact resistance
  • Natural composite materials
  • Structural design motifs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys


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