small plans: nanotechnology for the building industry

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why toucan beaks are models of lightweight strength

Researchers at UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering report that the secret to the toucan beak's lightweight strength is an unusual bio-composite. The interior of the beak is rigid "foam" made of bony fibers sandwiched between layers of keratin, the protein that makes up fingernails. "Our computer modeling shows that the beak is optimized to an amazing degree for high strength and very little weight," says Professor Marc A. Meyers. more @