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Scientists have developed a new type of shatterproof glass based on the unlikely durability of seashells.
Despite the ‘weak’ components that make up mollusks’ shells, these protective shields are incredibly tough thanks to an impact-resistant material known as nacre.
Nature - Nacre - Arrangement - Team - Researchers
Based on the brick-like nature of nacre’s arrangement, a team of researchers has created a composite glass that’s three times as strong as tempered glass, and up to 24 times as strong as plain glass.
Whether ‘in a car, a building or a smartphone, glass components are always the weakest links and the most fragile in the entire system,’ says Francois Barthelat, a mechanical engineer at McGill University.
Inspiration - Nature - Researchers - Case
But, with recent some inspiration from nature, the researchers say that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
‘Animals take relatively weak ingredients – a brittle mineral, soft proteins – and turn them into a hard yet extremely tough armor,’ Barthelat said, pointing to the durability of mother-of-pearl.
Nacre - Mollusks - Shell - Brick - Wall
Nacre, which gives the mollusks their tough shell, is arranged like a brick wall, the researcher explains.
This allows more brittle materials such as calcium carbonate to slide past each other...
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