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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)

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williamlweaver
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Biomimetic Structures
williamlweaver   6/21/2012 7:41:05 AM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Beth Stackpole   6/21/2012 8:12:10 AM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Jerry dycus   6/21/2012 8:33:44 AM
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   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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
TOP   6/21/2012 9:42:19 AM
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I agree. How about at least a link to an article or a paper describing this structure?

Dave Palmer
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Dave Palmer   6/21/2012 11:19:11 AM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
TOP   6/21/2012 1:38:43 PM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Ann R. Thryft   6/21/2012 2:10:17 PM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Rob Spiegel   6/21/2012 4:58:53 PM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
gsmith120   6/21/2012 6:02:38 PM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Ann R. Thryft   6/22/2012 12:03:33 PM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Rob Spiegel   6/22/2012 1:39:11 PM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Charles Murray   6/21/2012 8:05:10 PM
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I agree, Rob. Great article. I wonder if the reserachers used finite element analysis to study this.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Ann R. Thryft   6/21/2012 11:50:56 AM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
TOP   6/21/2012 12:39:37 PM
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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
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Re: Biomimetic Structures
Ann R. Thryft   6/21/2012 11:51:44 AM
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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
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self healing
ChasChas   6/22/2012 11:42:52 AM
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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
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Re: self healing
Ann R. Thryft   6/22/2012 12:08:59 PM
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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.

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