The Impact Behaviour of Crab Carapaces in Relation to Morphology

Puspa Restu Sayekti, Fahrunnida -, Gabrielis Cerniauskas, Colin Robert, Bambang Retnoaji, Parvez Alam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brachyuran crab carapaces are protective, impact-resistant exoskeletons with elaborate material microstructures. Though several research efforts have been made to characterise the physical, material and mechanical properties of the crab carapace, there are no studies detailing how crab morphologies might influence impact resistance. The purpose of this paper is to characterise and compare Brachyuran crab carapace morphologies in relation to their impact properties, using opto-digital, experimental and numerical methods. We find that crab carapaces with both extended carapace arc-lengths and deep carapace grooves lose stiffness rapidly under cyclic impact loading, and fail in a brittle manner. Contrarily, carapaces with smaller arc lengths and shallower, more broadly distributed carapace grooves are more effective in dissipating stresses caused by impact throughout the carapace structure. This allows them to retain stiffness for longer, and influences their failure mode, which is ductile (denting), rather than brittle fracture. The findings in this paper provide new bioinspired approaches for the geometrical designs by which means material failure under cyclic impact can be controlled and manipulated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3994
Number of pages15
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2020


  • crab carapace
  • Mechanical properties
  • Mechanical behaviour
  • impact resistance
  • biomimetic design
  • comparative biomechanics
  • Topology


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