Bioinspired honeycomb core design: An experimental study of the role of corner radius, coping and interface

Derek Goss, Yash Mistry, Sridhar Niverty, Cameron Noe, Bharath Santhanam, Cahit Ozturk, Clint A. Penick, Christine Lee, Nikhilesh Chawla, Alex Grishin, Vikram Shyam, Dhruv Bhate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The honeybee’s comb has inspired the design of engineering honeycomb core that primarily abstract the hexagonal cell shape and exploit its mass minimizing properties to construct lightweight panels. This work explored three additional design features that are part of natural honeybee comb but have not been as well studied as design features of interest in honeycomb design: the radius at the corner of each cell, the coping at the top of the cell walls, and the interface between cell arrays. These features were first characterized in natural honeycomb using optical and X-ray techniques and then incorporated into honeycomb core design and fabricated using an additive manufacturing process. The honeycomb cores were then tested in out-of-plane compression and bending, and since all three design features added mass to the overall structure, all metrics of interest were examined per unit mass to assess performance gains despite these additions. The study concluded that the presence of an interface increases specific flexural modulus in bending, with no significant benefit in out-of-plane compression; coping radius positively impacts specific flexural strength, however, the corner radius has no significant effect in bending and actually is slightly detrimental for out-of-plane compression testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number59
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Bioinspired design
  • Biomimicry
  • Compression
  • Honeycomb
  • Optimization
  • Three-point bending

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering


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