Will aeroplane cockpits be built like your TEETH? Synthetic enamel could help equipment withstand heavy vibrations

Mail Online | 3/1/2017 | Harry Pettit For Mailonline
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Aeroplanes constantly vibrate while they power through the air, and while the humans on board may hardly notice, the aircraft's equipment feels every twitch.

Unavoidable vibrations cause rigid equipment like on-board computers to crack and age, wearing them down to dangerous levels long before their sell-by-date.

Group - Researchers - Solution - Design - Equipment

But one group of researchers has a strange solution - design the equipment like tooth enamel.

The University of Michigan scientists claim that using synthetic tooth enamel to create technology that is frequently under stress or vibrations could give it a longer shelf life.

Structure - Enamel - Range - Species - Millions

They say that the structure of enamel has hardly changed across a range of species for millions of years, suggesting a near-perfect design.

The team has now created synthetic tooth enamel for the first time, using 40 layers of a strong polymer.

Material - Range - Machinery - Future - Equipment

They hope that their new material could be used in building a range of machinery in the future, including aeroplane equipment.

Most materials that absorb vibration are soft, so they don't make good structural components, such as beams, chassis or motherboards.

Inspiration - Materials - Shocks - Researchers - Nature

For inspiration on how to make hard materials that survive repeated shocks, the researchers looked to nature.

'Artificial enamel is better than solid commercial and experimental materials that are aimed at the same vibration damping,' said lead author Professor Nicholas Kotov.

'It - Expensive

'It's lighter, more effective and, perhaps, less expensive.'

Professor Kotov and his team didn't settle on enamel immediately.

Structures - Animals - Shocks - Vibrations - Bones

They examined many structures in animals that had to withstand shocks and vibrations, including bones, shells, carapaces and teeth.

These living structures evolved to sustain vibrations from daily chewing, walking and running over hundreds of millions of years.

Species - Species - Time - Story

Each changed from species to species over time, but tooth enamel told a different story.

Under an electron microscope, it shared a similar structure whether it came from a Tyrannosaurus, a walrus, a sea urchin or Professor Kotov himself, who...
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