The influences of (1) a high fiber content, (2) the arrangement of fibers in fiber groups, and (3) a layered hierarchical composition of the bark of the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum
) on its energy dissipation capability are analyzed and discussed regarding the relevance for an application in bioinspired components in civil engineering. The giant sequoia is native to the Sierra Nevada (USA), a region with regular rockfalls. It is thus regularly exposed to high-energy impacts, with its bark playing a major protective role, as can be seen in the wild and has been proven in laboratory experiments. The authors quantify the fundamental biomechanical properties of the bark at various length scales, taking into account its hierarchical setup ranging from the integral level (whole bark) down to single bark fibers. Microtensile tests on single fibers and fiber pairs give insights into the properties of single fibers as well as the benefits of the strong longitudinal interconnection between single fibers arranged in pairs. Going beyond the level of single fibers or fiber pairs, towards the integral level, quasistatic compression tests and dynamic impact tests are performed on samples comprising the whole bark (inner and outer bark). These tests elucidate the deformation behavior under quasistatic compression and dynamic impact relevant for the high energy dissipation and impact-damping behavior of the bark. The remarkable energy dissipation capability of the bark at the abovementioned hierarchical levels are linked to the layered and fibrous structure of the bark structurally analyzed by thin sections and SEM and µCT scans.
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