The mother-of-pearl growth surface of abalone shell is colored due to the way light refracts as it strikes tiny terraces of calcium carbonate.
Engineering researchers at the University of California, San Diego are using the shell of a seaweed-eating snail as a guide in the development of a new generation of bullet-stopping armor. The colorful oval shell of the red abalone is highly prized as a source of nacre, or mother-of-pearl, jewelry, but the UCSD researchers are most impressed by the shell’s ability to absorb heavy blows without breaking.
In a paper published in the Jan. 15 issue of Materials Science and Engineering A, Marc A. Meyers, a professor in UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering, and engineering graduate student Albert Lin explain in detail for the first time the steps taken by the abalone to produce a helmet-like home made with 95 percent calcium carbonate “tiles” and 5 percent protein adhesive. Teachers who write on blackboards know that calcium carbonate, or chalk, is weak and brittle, but Meyers and Lin have demonstrated that a highly ordered brick-like tiled structure created by the mollusk is the toughest arrangement of tiles theoretically possible.
The abalone shell investigation is one of a growing number of science-mimicking-nature, or biomimetic, projects at UCSD. For example, Meyers also is analyzing the strong, but extremely lightweight bill of the Toco Toucan, a Central and South American bird that squashes fruit and berries with its banana-shaped bill. “We are actually interested in basic research on new materials,” said Meyers. “We have turned to nature because millions of years of evolution and natural selection have given rise in many animals to some very sturdy materials with surprising mechanical properties.”
Rex Graham | EurekAlert!
Decoding cement's shape promises greener concrete
08.12.2016 | Rice University
Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D
08.12.2016 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences