The sea urchin is well known for its many outward-pointing spines. However, five symmetric teeth at the center of its body are even more impressive than the spines. These teeth are able to chew through solid rock, making a cavity in which the sea urchin hides and withstands the surge of water currents. Scientists have long wondered how sea urchin teeth can withstand grinding and scraping against rock surfaces. After all, the teeth are made of calcite (CaCO3) which is just average in mineral hardness.
Continue reading Sea Urchin inspires for Self-sharpening Tools →
How do sea shells stay in one piece as they are buffeted constantly by strong currents and waves? After all, most shells consist of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) which is a brittle and relatively weak material. Calcium carbonate takes many forms including marble, limestone, and chalk.
One secret of success is the distribution of fine cracks within the shell structure.
Continue reading future glass will withstand the impact of a baseball →
Brazil’s Amazon waterways are home to the feared piranha. The razor-like teeth of these aggressive fish make quick work of most prey. However, large Arapaima fish share space with piranha, even in crowded ponds. Arapaima are one of the largest freshwater fish, reaching 300 pounds and a length of 8 feet (2.5 meters).
Piranhas have learned that the Arapaima’s armor-like protective scales cannot be overcome. These scales have a hard, mineralized shell-like surface which is anchored to underlying flexible muscle.
body construction, flexible ceramic
Continue reading airtight and flexible, the Arampaima skin →
Lizards are some of the most versatile animals on the planet. Geckoes for example can climb straight up walls, even across glass ceilings upside down. Their feet have been studied to learn how to make better adhesives. Now, lizards are the subject of a new investigation which includes the dinosaurs. Researchers are looking at how lizards use their tails for balance, resulting in similar mechanical “tails” for robots.
Continue reading lizard tail for stabilizers →
Many trees do not have vertical capillary tubes for transporting water upward. Instead, a spiral network of capillaries and fibers extend the entire length of the tree. This helical geometry strengthens the tree, allowing a greater flexibility or bending motion in high wind or during heavy weight loads. The spiral pattern is sometimes noticed on the surface of dead trees which have lost their bark.
less material useage
Continue reading The design of trees helps to reduce plastic waste →
With the eMotionSpheres, Festo shows how several flying objects can move in a coordinated manner and within a defined space. Whether individually or collectively – even in chaotic situations, there are no collisions as the spheres move out of each other’s way.
Continue reading eMotionSpheres like a jellyfish swarm →
Nova’s stabilisation platforms are based on a sugar-glass stabilization concept. The inspiration for this technology arose from observations of anhydrobiotic organisms, such as the Resurrection Plant (Selaginella lepidophylla), which can protect themselves from extreme desiccation. Such organisms survive in drought conditions by producing high concentrations of particular sugars in their tissues. These sugars solidify as a glass during dehydration, preserving the cells and tissues in a state of suspended animation. When water is once again available the glass dissolves away, allowing normal biological functions to resume.
Continue reading sugar for Vaccines conservation →
Tensairity® is a revolutionary light weight beam element developed by Airlight Ldt. The synergetic combination of an airbeam, cables and struts leads to this extraordinary light weight structure, using very low internal pressure but with the load bearing capacity of conventional steel girders.
huge constructions over long distances
Continue reading use liana or an air-beam to conquer long distances →
For example, an abalone shell is stronger than high-tech ceramics because of its internal structure. Diatom shells are made of silica (glass), but they are extremely strong because of their stress-distributing pattern of holes.
Like nature, 3-D printers can excel at building complex structures from simple materials, said Benyus. Both use an additive process, meaning larger pieces are built up from smaller ones.
unexpected high! Continue reading Seashells are harder than ceramics and can be printed by your desktop 3D printer? →
The Euplectella aspergillum is a cylindrical sponge that lives intropical waters. It has a height of 45 cm. Its exoskeleton consists of hydrated, amorphous silicon dioxide organized into a complexnetwork of spicules that supports the structure. These fibres, whichare 5-10 cm long and as thin as a hair form a crown at the foot ofthe network that anchors the sponge to the bottom of the ocean.
Continue reading Building based on mechanical stiffness of sea-sponges →