MSE Research Project Database

A Bio-Inspired Lightweight Composite System for Blast and Impact Protection

Project Leader: Tuan Ngo
Staff: Prof Priyan Mendis
Collaborators: A/Prof Alex Remennikov (University of Wollongong) Prof Andrew Whittaker ( University at Buffalo)
Sponsors: Australian Research Council
Primary Contact: A/Prof Tuan Ngo (
Keywords: biomaterials; civil infrastructure; infrastructure protection; numerical modelling
Disciplines: Infrastructure Engineering
Domains: Optimisation of resources and infrastructure

Accidental and deliberate loads on civil and military structures, locally and internationally have claimed lives and cost governments billions of dollars worldwide. The key challenge is to develop a lightweight high performance protective structure that exhibits superior strength and toughness simultaneously, which are typically mutually exclusive in traditional engineering materials. Mimicking natural structures (such as turtle shells, pearl oysters, porcupine quills etc.), which have optimised their armouring systems over millions of years of evolution to counter predator attacks, could lead to efficiently lightweight engineering structures with improved mechanical responses to extreme loadings such as blast and impact.

The project aims to develop a bio-inspired multi-functional lightweight and modular negative Poisson’s ratio composite panel system  that can concentrate material into areas most needed under impact loads, absorb and mitigate energy under blast, and provide an anchoring effect that prevents hazardous fragments from flying out of the system.


  1. Tran, P., Ngo, T. D., Ghazlan, A., & Hui, D. (2017). Bimaterial 3D printing and numerical analysis of bio-inspired composite structures under in-plane and transverse loadings. Composites Part B: Engineering
  2. Ghazlan, A., Ngo, T. D., & Tran, P. (2017). Influence of geometric and material parameters on the behavior of nacreous composites under quasi-static loading. Composite Structures.
  3. Ghazlan, A., Ngo, T. D., & Tran, P. (2016). Three-dimensional Voronoi model of a nacre-mimetic composite structure under impulsive loading. Composite Structures.

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