Large-area, lightweight and thick biomimetic composites with superior material properties via fast, economic, and green pathways

Andreas Walther (Corresponding Author), Ingela Bjurhager, Jani-Markus Malho, Jaakko Pere, Janne Ruokolainen, Lars A. Berglund, Olli Ikkala (Corresponding Author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    315 Citations (Scopus)


    Although remarkable success has been achieved to mimic the mechanically excellent structure of nacre in laboratory-scale models, it remains difficult to foresee mainstream applications due to time-consuming sequential depositions or energy-intensive processes. Here, we introduce a surprisingly simple and rapid methodology for large-area, lightweight, and thick nacre-mimetic films and laminates with superior material properties. Nanoclay sheets with soft polymer coatings are used as ideal building blocks with intrinsic hard/soft character. They are forced to rapidly self-assemble into aligned nacre-mimetic films via paper-making, doctor-blading or simple painting, giving rise to strong and thick films with tensile modulus of 45 GPa and strength of 250 MPa, that is, partly exceeding nacre. The concepts are environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and economic and are ready for scale-up via continuous roll-to-roll processes. Excellent gas barrier properties, optical translucency, and extraordinary shape-persistent fire-resistance are demonstrated. We foresee advanced large-scale biomimetic materials, relevant for lightweight sustainable construction and energy-efficient transportation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2742-2748
    Number of pages7
    JournalNano Letters
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



    • Biomimetic materials
    • nacre
    • self-assembly
    • layered composite
    • mechanical properties

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