Shell is tough armor: golden scale snail
The shell of hydrothermal vent snails serves as tough armor thanks to a three-layered structure incorporating iron sulphide granules.
|Biomimetic Application Ideas|
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"…[T]he snail has evolved a tri-layered shell structure consisting of an outer layer embedded with iron sulfide granules, a thick organic middle layer, and a calcified inner layer. This creates a configuration in which the inner compliant layer is sandwiched between two rigid layers.
"Ortiz and her colleagues, including MIT Dean of Engineering Subra Suresh, used nanoscale experiments and computer modeling to determine the shell's structure and mechanical properties. They found that the unique three-layer structure dissipates mechanical energy, which helps the snails fend off attacks from crabs that squeeze the shell with their claws in an attempt to fracture it. The shell of the scaly-foot snail possesses a number of additional energy dissipation mechanisms compared to typical mollusk shells that are primarily composed of calcium carbonate." (Trafton 2010)
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist
Application Ideas: Develop novel structural materials. Protective armor. Helmets. Vehicles.
Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Construction, materials science, engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology