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  • Strategy

Shape distributes stress: sea urchin


Sea urchin / Steven Wagne.. / LicenseCC-by-nc - Attribution Non-commercial

The shell of sea urchins prevent cracking and breaking via oblate shape.

"Spheres are also distorted by gravity. If a drop of liquid, held together by surface tension, is placed on a surface and therefore subjected to the force of gravity, it tends to become a more flattened shape, called 'oblate'. The shell of a sea urchin, stripped of its spines, is oblate. This shape distributes stress evenly over the surface and therefore reduces the likelihood of cracking or breaking. The guiding principle of economy is always apparent: a shape is most efficient when it reduces its work to a minimum." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:20)
About the inspiring organism
Med_479921673_5ad9c3ec74_o Echinoidea

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Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Roofs/buildings that resist hail or other storm damage.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Architecture

Foy S; Oxford Scientific Films. 1982. The Grand Design: Form and Colour in Animals. Lingfield, Surrey, U.K.: BLA Publishing Limited for J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, Aldine House, London. 238 p.
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