• Strategy

Shells resist external loading: birds


Cross view of eggshell / Janice Carr .. / LicensePD - Public Domain

The eggs of birds resist external loading via composite structure.

"The eggshells of birds are mechanically impressive devices, surprisingly resistant to external loading; Vincent (1990), though, complained about how little we understand them, muttering at 'half-boiled notions' in the literature. They're mostly mineral but have a critical 2-4 percent of organic matter, making them into composites. Still, cracks can propagate, of which fact the chick takes advantage to get out--before pushing, it pecks around a circle so it can then break the egg along the dotted line." (Vogel 2003:340)
About the inspiring organism

Learn more at EOL.org
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Improved metal alloys, plastics (computer cases, etc.) that prevent cracks from spreading; building materials, such as concrete, that stop cracks from spreading; pipes that resist cracking.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Materials science, building science, pipes

Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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