Biomimicry
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Biomimicry
Nature inspired innovation
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Plastics Made Fireproof Thanks to Mother-of-Pearl Mimic

Plastics Made Fireproof Thanks to Mother-of-Pearl Mimic | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"It’s a technicolour dreamcoat for your crisp packet – a strong, flame-retardant and airtight new material that mimics mother of pearl. The natural version, also called nacre, is found on the inner shell of some molluscs, where it is built up of layers of the mineral aragonite separated by organic polymers such as chitin. It is remarkably strong, without being brittle or dense. We would like to use nacre and similar materials as a protective coating in many situations."

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Printing Artificial Bone

Printing Artificial Bone | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Researchers working to design new materials that are durable, lightweight and environmentally sustainable are increasingly looking to natural composites, such as bone, for inspiration: Bone is strong and tough because its two constituent materials, soft collagen protein and stiff hydroxyapatite mineral, are arranged in complex hierarchical patterns that change at every scale of the composite, from the micro up to the macro."

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Biomimicry: Nacre Inspires Transparent Strong As Steel Plastic

Biomimicry: Nacre Inspires Transparent Strong As Steel Plastic | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

Nacre, or Mother of pearl is the iridescent lining you see on the inside of an oyster, mussel, or abalone shell. It is also the same material that creates pearls. The play of light we find so appealing is a result of the little beasties engineering the shell down to the molecular level. To create a shell that is tough and lightweight (sometimes 3000 times tougher than its component parts), the abalone layers an organic material and a non-organic material into a nano-structure design resembling brick and mortar. 

 

We have seen before how the abalone inspired super tough materials. Now engineering professor Nicholas Kotov and his team from the University of Michigan have created a process similar to our bivalve friends that allows the creation of materials one nano-layer at a time, with impressive results.

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Mollusc Shells Inspire Super-glass

Mollusc Shells Inspire Super-glass | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Engineers intrigued by the toughness of mollusc shells, which are composed of brittle minerals, have found inspiration in their structure to make glass 200 times stronger than a standard pane. Counter-intuitively, the glass is strengthened by introducing a network of microscopic cracks, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday."

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Researchers are Getting Closer to Making Artificial Nacre

Researchers are Getting Closer to Making Artificial Nacre | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

The remarkable properties of some natural materials have motivated many researchers to synthesize biomimetic nanocomposites that attempt to reproduce Nature’s achievements and to understand the toughening and deformation mechanisms of natural nanocomposite materials. One of the best examples is nacre, the pearly internal layer of many mollusc shells. It has evolved through millions of years to a level of optimization currently achieved in very few engineered composites. Preparation of artificial analogs of nacre has been approached by using several different methods and the resulting materials capture some of the characteristics of the natural composite

 

Nacre has a layered structure composed of approximately 95% calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and nearly 5% organics. As depicted in the figure below, single-crystalline calcium carbonate nanotablets (CCNs) are interfaced by entrapped organics. Such a periodic 'bricks and mortar' arrangement is crucial to mechanical and other outstanding properties that nacre possesses.

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