In situ observation of compressive deformation of an interconnected network of zinc oxide tetrapods

3D rendering of a tomographed region (after segmentation)

Zinc oxide tetrapods have remarkable functional and mechanical properties with potential applications in different fields including nanoelectronic and optoelectronic sensing, functional composites and coatings, as well as energy harvesting and storage.  They can be assembled into highly porous macroscopic ceramic framework structures that can be utilized as a versatile template for the fabrication of other multi-scaled foam-like materials.

This paper in Scripta Materialia (Volume 224), is based entirely on the experimental work and analysis conducted by two Part II undergraduate students (Eloise Veys 2020-2021 and Louis Makower 2021-2022) in James Marrow's research group, in collaboration with partners at Kiel and Trento Universities.  They investigated the three-dimensional structure of low density interconnected zinc oxide tetrapod networks by high resolution X-ray computed tomography.  Their in situ observations during mechanical loading show inhomogeneous development of anelastic strain (damage) during compression and individual tetrapods are observed to deform by arm rotation to accommodate strain.