Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Metal Body Armour: Biomimetic Engineering of Lattice Structures

Presented at the 19th Annual International RAPDASA conference, held from 7 to 9 November 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Version 1 : Received: 22 October 2018 / Approved: 23 October 2018 / Online: 23 October 2018 (10:10:15 CEST)

How to cite: du Plessis, A.; Broeckhoven, C. Metal Body Armour: Biomimetic Engineering of Lattice Structures . Preprints 2018, 2018100535. du Plessis, A.; Broeckhoven, C. Metal Body Armour: Biomimetic Engineering of Lattice Structures †. Preprints 2018, 2018100535.


Biomimicry in additive manufacturing often refers to topology optimization and the use of lattice structures, due to the organic shape of the topology-optimized designs, and the lattices often looking similar to many light-weight structures found in nature such as trabecular bone, wood, sponges, coral, to name a few. Real biomimetic design however involves the use of design principles taken in some way from natural systems. In this work we use a methodology whereby high resolution 3D analysis of a natural material with desirable properties is “reverse-engineered” and the design tested for the purpose. This allows more accurate replication of the desired properties, and adaption of the design parameters to the material used for production (which usually differs from the biological material). One such example is the impact-protective natural design of the glyptodont body armour. In this paper we report on the production of body armour models in metal (Ti4Al4V) and analyze the resulting mechanical properties, assessing their potential for impact protective applications. This is the first biomimetic study using metal additive manufacturing to date.


biomimicry; biomimetic engineering; energy absorption; lattice structure; additive manufacturing; powder bed fusion; X-ray tomography; microCT; non-destructive testing; 3D image analysis


Engineering, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 6 November 2018
Commenter: Johan Steyn
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: I think this work is in the direction research should go. This is very exciting indeed! Congratulations!
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