Tuesday 21 October, 2014

Shrimp-inspired material to make airplanes stronger

Published On: Wed, Apr 23rd, 2014 | Archaeology | By BioNews

Would you believe that tiny crustacean shrimps are more powerful than the material used in airplane making? Scientists believe so.

Inspired by the fist-like club of a mantis shrimp, a team of researchers has successfully designed composite material that is more impact resistant and tougher than the standard used in airplanes’ frame-making.

The force created by the impact of the mantis shrimp’s club is more than 1,000 times its own weight.

It can strike prey thousands of times without breaking.

“The more we study the club of this tiny crustacean, the more we realise its structure could improve so many things we use every day,” said David Kisailus, the Winston Chung endowed chair of energy innovation at University of California Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering.

In lab experiments, the researchers created carbon fibre-epoxy composites with layers at three different helicoidal angles ranging from about 10 degrees to 25 degrees.

The goal was to examine the impact resistance and energy absorption of the helicoidal structures when they were struck and to quantify the strength after the impact.

In the external damage category, the unidirectional samples split and completely failed.

The quasi-isotropic samples were punctured through the back and had significant fibre damage.

Although the helicoidal samples showed some splitting of fibers, they were not punctured completely through.

“In fact, the dent depth damage to all of the helicoidal samples was 20 percent to 50 percent less than the quasi-isotropic samples,” Kisailus added.

The researchers then compressed the samples until they broke.

The results showed that the helicoidal samples, in general, displayed a significant increase, about 15 percent to 20 percent, in residual strength after impact compared to the quasi-isotropic samples.

The research was published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia.

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