Toughening mechanisms for the attachment of architectured materials: The mechanics of the tendon enthesis

Mikhail Golman, Adam C. Abraham, Iden Kurtaliaj, Brittany P. Marshall, Yizhong Jenny Hu, Andrea G. Schwartz, X. Edward Guo, Victor Birman, Philipp J. Thurner, Guy M. Genin, Stavros Thomopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Architectured materials offer tailored mechanical properties but are limited in engineering applications due to challenges in maintaining toughness across their attachments. The enthesis connects tendon and bone, two vastly different architectured materials, and exhibits toughness across a wide range of loadings. Understanding the mechanisms by which this is achieved could inform the development of engineered attachments. Integrating experiments, simulations, and previously unexplored imaging that enabled simultaneous observation of mineralized and unmineralized tissues, we identified putative mechanisms of enthesis toughening in a mouse model and then manipulated these mechanisms via in vivo control of mineralization and architecture. Imaging uncovered a fibrous architecture within the enthesis that controls trade-offs between strength and toughness. In vivo models of pathology revealed architectural adaptations that optimize these trade-offs through cross-scale mechanisms including nanoscale protein denaturation, milliscale load-sharing, and macroscale energy absorption. Results suggest strategies for optimizing architecture for tough bimaterial attachments in medicine and engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabi5584
JournalScience Advances
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 2021


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