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Energy-absorbing materials are widely used in transportations, sports, and the military applications. Particularly, porous materials, including natural and artificial materials, have attracted tremendous attentions due to their light weight and excellent energy absorption capability. This review summarizes the recent progresses in the natural and artificial energy-absorbing porous materials. First, we review the typical natural porous materials including cuttlebone, bighorn sheep horn, pomelo peel, and sunflower stem pith. The architectures, energy absorption abilities, and mechanisms of these typical natural materials and their bioinspired materials are summarized. Then, we provide a review on the fabrication methods of artificial energy-absorbing porous materials, such as conventional foaming and three-dimensional (3D) printing. Finally, we address the challenges and prospects for the future development of energy-absorbing porous materials. More importantly, our review provides a direct guidance for the design and fabrication of energy-absorbing porous materials required for various engineering applications.

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Energy-absorbing porous materials: Bioinspired architecture and fabrication

Show Author's information Junheng Zhao1Meng Li1Jiewei Chen1Weiwei Gao2( )Hao Bai1( )
State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, College of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China


Energy-absorbing materials are widely used in transportations, sports, and the military applications. Particularly, porous materials, including natural and artificial materials, have attracted tremendous attentions due to their light weight and excellent energy absorption capability. This review summarizes the recent progresses in the natural and artificial energy-absorbing porous materials. First, we review the typical natural porous materials including cuttlebone, bighorn sheep horn, pomelo peel, and sunflower stem pith. The architectures, energy absorption abilities, and mechanisms of these typical natural materials and their bioinspired materials are summarized. Then, we provide a review on the fabrication methods of artificial energy-absorbing porous materials, such as conventional foaming and three-dimensional (3D) printing. Finally, we address the challenges and prospects for the future development of energy-absorbing porous materials. More importantly, our review provides a direct guidance for the design and fabrication of energy-absorbing porous materials required for various engineering applications.

Keywords: porous materials, bioinspired materials, natural materials, energy-absorbing, natural structures



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Publication history

Publication history

Received: 22 July 2023
Revised: 18 September 2023
Accepted: 20 September 2023
Published: 02 December 2023
Issue date: February 2024


© Tsinghua University Press 2023



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 22075244), the Zhejiang Provincial Innovation Center of Advanced Chemicals Technology (No. ACTIC-2022-004), the Shanxi-Zheda Institute of Advanced Materials and Chemical Engineering (No. 2021SZ-TD009), the Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (No. LZ22E030001), and the Science and Technology Program of Institute of Zhejiang University- Quzhou (Nos. IZQ2021KJ2001 and IZQ2022KJ3013).