HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Engineering Materials
Body Armor Is Inspired by Shrimp
6/21/2012

The mantis shrimp's club-like arms have a unique structure that makes them extremely strong, tough, and lightweight, which could be adapted to make better body armor for soldiers.   (Source: Silke Baron)
The mantis shrimp's club-like arms have a unique structure that makes them extremely strong, tough, and lightweight, which could be adapted to make better body armor for soldiers.
(Source: Silke Baron)

Return to Article

View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
williamlweaver
User Rank
Platinum
Biomimetic Structures
williamlweaver   6/21/2012 7:41:05 AM
NO RATINGS
Wow, this is neat. I'm also impressed by the teardrop shape of the shrimp club --- I'm assuming that the high velocity achieved though water is the result of some nifty fluid dynamics and complex vortex shedding... Oriented fiber- and hybrid composites continue to behave magically, based on the systematic perspective that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Now I'm just waiting for grant money to investigate the turkey club -- it's almost lunch time.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Beth Stackpole   6/21/2012 8:12:10 AM
NO RATINGS
This shrimp species has probably survived forever and taking a page from Mother Nature and replicating its structures for materials design, especially for military body armor is inspiring. I love it!

Jerry dycus
User Rank
Gold
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Jerry dycus   6/21/2012 8:33:44 AM
NO RATINGS
 

   This has been done for decades on tanks, etc, various layers of different materials to break up the impact, thermal energy.  I use the same idea in my composite EV designs for crash protection.

  Again lack of actual details of the structures hurts this engineering article that one might use. Pic's could help to of a cross section, etc.

  If not the right shape it wouldn't get the speed needed as water drag would be too high.

  Shimpers fear this creature as it splits a finger in a heartbeat if they pick one up or get close to it sorting market shrimp from the bycatch. 

 Sadly this style of shrimping, fishing dragging nets across the bottom is killing our fisheries and should be banned because it destroys the habitat, young fish, coral, plants, etc that sealife needs to live and we need to eat.

TOP
User Rank
Gold
Re: Biomimetic Structures
TOP   6/21/2012 9:42:19 AM
NO RATINGS
I agree. How about at least a link to an article or a paper describing this structure?

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Dave Palmer   6/21/2012 11:19:11 AM
NO RATINGS
The article from Science magazine can be found here.  Science also has a "perspective" article about this, which can be found here. (Some readers may find this to be behind a pay wall).

TOP
User Rank
Gold
Re: Biomimetic Structures
TOP   6/21/2012 1:38:43 PM
NO RATINGS
Here is a link to another article at phys.org.

 

Here is a link to another article at the School of Engineering, Lausanne

 

 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Ann R. Thryft   6/21/2012 2:10:17 PM
NO RATINGS
TOP, could you try those links again? The first one gives an error message, and the second one goes to an abstract of a seminar on biomimetics, not an article on the shrimp-inspired armor.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Rob Spiegel   6/21/2012 4:58:53 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann, I love these stories of yours about taking nature's technology and applying it to human needs. I would guess this is just the beginning.

gsmith120
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Biomimetic Structures
gsmith120   6/21/2012 6:02:38 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree Rob...Ann I too enjoy your articles.  It is very interesting to read about how someone can look at something as simple as a shrimp, crab, snake or the like and develop unique and innovative things.  That's a very interesting looking and colorful shrimp Ann I too enjoy your artilces.  It is very interesting to read about how someone can look at something as simple as a shrimp, crab, snake or the like and develop unique and novative things. 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Ann R. Thryft   6/22/2012 12:03:33 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for the positive feedback, folks. I was taught that creativity starts with, and is fed by, seeing things in unusual ways. I think that the engineers that look at a shrimp with incredibly strong clubby arms and come up with an idea for a new composite material are creative people who might solve a particular problem faster and cheaper than other methods. Nature has been at this an incredibly longer time than we have: about 3.5 billion years. I think reporting on biomimetics can provide inspiration for working engineers, whether they're designing materials or using them.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Rob Spiegel   6/22/2012 1:39:11 PM
NO RATINGS
Good point about creativity, Ann. Even the pharmaceutical industry is looking to nature for solutions. I attended a Chile Institute conference and there were pharma researchers attending. They were looking into the pain-killing qualities of the hot chemical in peppers.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Charles Murray   6/21/2012 8:05:10 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, Rob. Great article. I wonder if the reserachers used finite element analysis to study this.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Ann R. Thryft   6/21/2012 11:50:56 AM
NO RATINGS
There's a link in the first sentence of my article to the Science article describing this structure in as much detail as the authors are willing to divulge. As is typical of some university R&D efforts aimed at commercial development, though, it may not give all the info that some readers would like. (Dave, thanks for the additional link)

TOP
User Rank
Gold
Re: Biomimetic Structures
TOP   6/21/2012 12:39:37 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks. Yes that was the link. I'm used to "An article in Science recently....." being the link.


Was there anything about the mechanism to provide reactions for this rapid movement? When something is moving this fast and with this much power there has to be some way to provide support for the arms.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Biomimetic Structures
Ann R. Thryft   6/21/2012 11:51:44 AM
NO RATINGS
Wiliiam, thanks for the feedback. The oriented chitin fibers on the outside of the club also caught my attention, as did the organized and rotated layers of chitin fibers. That sounds like basic fiber-composites structure. In fact, it made me wonder if, historically, our modern fiber composites were inspired by nature in the first place. Anybody know the answer?

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
self healing
ChasChas   6/22/2012 11:42:52 AM
NO RATINGS
 

Are there self-healing properties that add to the life span of these clubs? Structure alone may not be the whole story.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: self healing
Ann R. Thryft   6/22/2012 12:08:59 PM
NO RATINGS
ChasChas, great question. Since the material is organic, and considering the incredible stresses it undergoes during the shrimp's lifetime, that's certainly a possibility.

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
The biggest robot swarm to date is made of 1,000 Kilobots, which can follow simple rules to autonomously assemble into predetermined shapes. Hardware and software are open-source.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 8 - 12, Get Ready for the New Internet: IPv6
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service