Nanoscopic Structure of Oyster Shells Could Inspire New Design in Bulletproof Glass

By Lenny Pierce

Oyster IP

Enough enemy bullets have flown through the windshields of US military vehicles for researchers to decide it’s time for a truly tough transparent surface. In a study conducted at MIT, materials scientist Christine Ortiz is researching the amazing ability of the windowpane oyster’s shell to both achieve 80% transparency and still handle significant impacts without shattering. ”We have long studied natural exoskeletons as inspiration for the development of advanced engineered protective systems” Ortiz said.

An up-close view of the windowpane oyster’s shell shows how little the damage radiates from an impact point. (Ling Li/MIT)

What confused scientists studying the windowpane oyster was how its shell was able to absorb impact so well despite consisting mostly of calcite. This is the same main component that makes up relatively brittle materials like limestone and chalk. To figure it out, they had to take their observations down to the nanometer – that’s one billionth of a meter. What they found via this super close look was that the surface of the shell was organized into many layers of long diamond shaped calcite crystals. When scientists intentionally dented the shell with a diamond tipped probe, the surface naturally absorbed the impact by reorienting the …read more

Source: Nerdist



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