small plans: nanotechnology for the building industry

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Seashells provide insights for armor design

Understanding the fundamental design principles of natural armor systems like shells may help engineers design improved body armor systems for humans in perilous situations, like soldiers and police officers. At MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, researchers are studying the structure and mechanics of the tough inner layer of mollusk shells, called nacre, or mother-of-pearl. "The complexity we have observed in nacre at the nanoscale is quite amazing and seems likely to be a critical determinant of the toughness of the material," said Professor Christine Ortiz of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. more @ mit.edu