Engineers from mit have studied the structure of the shells of the family strombidae and found that it allows them to stand out for their durability among the shells of other mollusks. The results of the study are published in the journal Advanced Materials.
The shells of marine animals must be able to withstand the tides and storms, collisions with rocks and attacking predators. The authors of the study wondered why the shells of a family of mollusks cope with this task better than others.
According to the study authors, these sinks have a unique structure. Their strength, ability to resist cracking, due to the fact that in their structure there are three hierarchically arranged levels. The material of the shells is similar to the zigzag structure, causing cracks she has to pass through the maze to advance further.
Although the structure was known before, scientists could not reproduce it accurately. In recent work, the engineers used a 3D printing technology that allows you to copy the structure, and hence test it. Compared with tests that use real seashells, such an approach gives better control over the experimental conditions and more reliable results.
During the tests, the scientists took printed materials with a different arrangement of structures on the hierarchical levels. It appeared that materials having the same structure as shells, combine the strength of a (good steel) and the ability to dissipate the impact energy (the advantage of rubber).
As noted by the authors, the unusual strength of the shells can be used to create, for example, helmets and protective clothing for athletes and military personnel. And the use of 3D printing technologies will allow to create individual means of protection.