I agree with "grand". It is an inspiring development. Nature has provided an interesting template for us to follow.
To me, the application that comes to mind for this material technology is a better interfacial material for prosthetics. Nature has provided some insight on how to stack and orient the right layers to make an effective transition from hard shell to soft tissue. I know many people who have had limbs ravaged by diabetes. Having a gentle but firm transition from soft surface to hard interface point could cause fewer sores and lesions and add up to a better quality of life despite their flesh's weakened condition. This may also apply to internal implants as well.
This is a good direction to pursue. The Army can benefit two-fold from having better armor and improved medical devices to help soldier and citizen alike.
Yes, Well-said Rob. Nature continues to offer us a myriad of new solution ideas. This topic also reminds me of the recent break-throughs in synthetic spider silk that I have been seeing in articles recently.
I agree Tool-maker. I saw a wonderful documentary some years ago that showed how some of our most common engineering solutions involved direct borrowing from nature's designs. A recent article in the The Guardian also covers the subject:
Rob, you have voiced what I thought as soon as I started reading the article. Here we go again trying to recreate and improve on what nature has already created. Not really a bad idea when it comes right down to it.
Pete, I think the difference is between whether animals are attacking each other under their own volition, i.e., in nature, or people are instigating their attacks on each other, i.e., two fish on a research lab, or two cocks or dogs fighting in a pit.
naperlou, thanks for the info on body armor. That basic structure sounds quite similar to the Arapaima scale architecture, although not including the fish scales' overlap. Lighter, stronger armor is definitely a target app for these experiments.
I think Pete is right: I doubt if a live show aired in the US could show the Arapaima getting attacked by a piranha, since it would violate cruelty to animals laws. That's probably one reason the researchers used a press with a piranha tooth "attacking" an Arapaima scale with muscle tissue simulated by rubber. Let alone the fact that either researchers or the people putting on River Monsters would have to wrestle both a piranha and a 300-lb Arapaima. But I haven't watched the show, so maybe that's all in a day's work for them.
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.
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