Supportive gel enables extreme shape change: sea anemone
The supportive gel-like substance (mesoglea) of sea anemones allows extreme shape changing due to its viscoelasticity.
|Biomimetic Application Ideas|
|Protective resilient structures for deep-sea oil and gas rigs.|
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Alexander (1962) showed the crucial role of mesogleal viscoelasticity for anemones. In creep tests on samples, strain increased from an initial value of about 0.2 to a final level ten times that, achieved after around 10 hours. That means the mesoglea has a lot of viscosity relative to its elasticity--it's hard to make it do anything fast but fairly easy to make it change shape slowly. It has a retardation time (calculated by Biggs; see Vincent ) of a little under an hour. How nice! The pulsating or reversing flows of waves passing above won't sweep it about very much, but after it has hunkered down, the low-pressure ciliary pump will be adequate to pump it back up again, albeit slowly. It can stand up to a single wave but deflect in a tidal current that imposes the same drag. Furthermore, the anemone's body wall can resist the stresses of its own short-term muscle contractions, so it can bend or straighten without getting an aneurysm whenever its muscles aren't active." (Vogel 2003:360-361)
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist
Application Ideas: Protective resilient structures for deep-sea oil and gas rigs.
Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Oil and gas