Ritchie and Colleagues Publish Paper on Why Skin is Resistant to Tearing


Sequence of images showing how skin when torn does not propagate but progressively yawns open under tensile loading. (Photo Courtesy of LBNL)

A group of researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), including MSE’s Professor Robert Ritchie, and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), conducted a study showing why skin is remarkably resistant to tearing. Using the X-ray beans at LBNL’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), the group was able to identify four specific mechanisms in collagen that work together to diminish the effects of stress. Their study is the first to directly observe the micro-scale behavior of the collagen fibrils associated with the skin’s tear resistance.

Professor Robert Ritchie co-authored “On the tear resistance of skin” in Nature Communications. 

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