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!
Melting solid below the freezing point
23.01.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science
An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk
20.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences