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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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?
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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.