Revisiting the role of calcite in Spondylus crassisquama shell

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Rodriguez S.
Brañez L.E.
Torres F.G.
Fernández-García M.
López D.
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ICE Publishing
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Spondylus crassisquama (princeps) is a bivalve mollusc inhabiting the coast of Central and South Americas. Its shell uses a two-layer armour system to protect the inner soft tissues from the environment. The external layer is composed of a calcite-based composite, and the internal layer is composed of an aragonite-based composite. For the first time, the structural characterisation of the S. crassisquama shell is reported. The results show similarities with those for other shells such as that of red abalone. As expected, microhardness tests demonstrate that the internal nacreous layer is stiffer and harder than the external calcitic layer. However, the amount of energy dissipated during the indentation tests of the calcitic layer is similar to the amount of energy dissipated by the nacreous layers. Despite the highly ordered structure of the nacreous layer, the characterisation conducted shows that the calcitic layer can also be used as a model for the development of bioinspired materials. ICE Publishing: All rights reserved
The authors would like to thank the vice-rectorate for research of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the Peruvian Council of Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Tecnológica–Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico) for financial support. Dr Vicente Lorenzo from the Polytechnical University of Madrid is acknowledged for providing technical support during the microhardness tests.
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Natural materials, Composite materials, Mechanical properties