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Uterus expands/contracts: mammals

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Human myometrium / Jpogi / LicensePD - Public Domain

The uterus of female mammals can expand and contract to accommodate its contents thanks to spiral muscle fibers in its central myometrial layer.

BIOMIMICRY TAXONOMY
Summary
"Similarly, the uterus of female mammals must expand and contract with gestation and birth, often an order of magnitude (ten-fold). The hooped fibers of chitin in the locust are paralleled in the interior circular muscle fibers of the uterus. Of the three layers of the uterus, the central myometrial layer is responsible for the expansion and contraction of the uterus. It is composed of connective tissue, mainly smooth muscle fibers with an external layer laid longitudinally and an internal layer laid circularly at the base which then spirals in both directions around the uterine body (which might even be a logarithmic spiral…).

The lessons from these 'hooped' chitin fibers and spiral muscle fibers could be incorporated into a polymer packaging material, thereby allowing for expansion and contraction of the packaging depending on the size of its contents. The result of packing multiple items into a shipping case would be the absolute minimization of air space between objects created by the packaging alone. Additionally, the same packaging product could be specified for a large variety of object sizes, i.e. the bag holding the baby shoe would be the same SKU as the one holding the basketball shoe or the soccer ball." (Biomimicry Guild unpublished report)
About the inspiring organism
Mammalia
Mammalia

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: Individual reusable shopping bags that expand and contract to accommodate volume, food packaging that contracts as volume decreases to eliminate air and maintain freshness, textiles that expand for wearing and contract for seasonal storage.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Packaging, textiles

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