The herringbone structure located in the marine creature's dactyl club could be used to produce materials for the aviation and automobile industries.
Inspired by nature, scientists have developed ultra-strong materials that could be used in the plane and car industries. The mantis shrimp possesses a herringbone structure in its dactyl club – used to smash through the shells of its prey – which is used to protect the club from damage.
Researchers from University of California, Riverside, and Purdue University, studied the structure and discovered that it has several areas. One area inside the club, called the periodic region, acts as a shock absorber and deals with shear waves that pass through materials that are under stress as lead researcher of the study, Nicholas Yaraghi explains.
“We knew from previous studies that the impact region allows the mantis shrimp to transfer incredible momentum to its prey while resisting fracture, but it was exciting to reveal through our research that the properties of this highly impact-resistant material are created by the novel herringbone structure.”
The mantis shrimp’s unique structure has been studied for many years but it’s only now that the innermost part of the marine creature’s club has been examined as reported in Science Daily.
The team reconstructed the herringbone structure using synthetic materials and a 3D printer to confirm their theory and found this will have many benefits for future industrial and safety uses including body armor and helmets.
“The smasher mantis shrimp has evolved this exceptionally strong and impact-resistant dactyl club for one primary purpose – to be able to eat,” said co-author, David Kisailus. “However, the more we learn about this tiny creature and it’s multilayered structural designs, the more we realize how much it can help us as we design better planes, cars, sports equipment and armor.”
The study has been published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Photo credit: UC Riverside