Crack engineering for the construction of arbitrary hierarchical architectures

Wanbo Li, Miao Yu, Jing Sun, Kentaro Mochizuki, Siyu Chen, Huanxi Zheng, Jiaqian Li, Shuhuai Yao, Hongkai Wu, Beng S. Ong, Satoshi Kawata, Zuankai Wang*, Kangning Ren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Three-dimensional hierarchical morphologies widely exist in natural and biomimetic materials, which impart preferential functions including liquid and mass transport, energy conversion, and signal transmission for various applications. While notable progress has been made in the design and manufacturing of various hierarchical materials, the state-of-the-art approaches suffer from limited materials selection, high costs, as well as low processing throughput. Herein, by harnessing the configurable elastic crack engineering—controlled formation and configuration of cracks in elastic materials—an effect normally avoided in various industrial processes, we report the development of a facile and powerful technique that enables the faithful transfer of arbitrary hierarchical structures with broad material compatibility and structural and functional integrity. Our work paves the way for the cost-effective, large-scale production of a variety of flexible, inexpensive, and transparent 3D hierarchical and biomimetic materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23909-23914
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number48
Early online date7 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • General

User-Defined Keywords

  • Biomimetic materials
  • Configurable elastic crack engineering
  • hierarchical structures
  • True 3D replication


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