Design of flexible puncture resistant gloves inspired by natural dermal armors
For the purpose of providing protection against potential environmental and physical threats, many animal species have developed hierarchical and heterogeneous biological materials. In turn, scientists and engineers have been inspired by the design of these biological materials and are working to apply this knowledge to develop “biologically inspired” engineered materials and structures. For example, puncture resistant materials are developed to provide protection against needles, thorns and other sharp objects, which may pierce soft flesh. Many natural armors are designed to have high puncture resistance and high flexibility. Unfortunately, these two properties are usually hard to achieve at the same time since most hard materials are also very stiff. In this study, we evaluate the puncture resistance and flexibility of fish scale structures. Elasmoid fish scales possess a unique balance of stiffness, strength and low weight to provide protection against predators and not interfere with locomotion. In this investigation the biological design of fish scales is dissected and then applied to pursue improved material designs for puncture resistant gloves.