Mantis Shrimp – Inspires Creation for Next Generation of Ultra-Strong Materials

Inspiration can come from all shapes and sizes, and in a recent spark of motivation, one particular topic came into mind with the aid of the Mantis Shrimp. Because of the marine crustacean, researchers are now one step closer in developing the next-generation super strong composite materials. The animal is a tiny, multi-colored marine being that is able to crush the shells of its prey as it utilizes its fist-like appendage which is called the dactyl club. The latest study describes that, for the first time, a unique herringbone structure would be used (and not previously reported in nature), and not the appendage’s outer layer, or more notably as to how the structure of the appendage works for the crustacean, to create the ultra-strong materials.

Mantis Shrimp - Inspires Creation for Next Generation of Ultra-Strong Materials

Appendage of Marine Crustacean Mantis Shrimp Inspires the Creation for Ultra-Strong Materials

The inspiration for the study of the Mantis Shrimp and how its appendage can help in the production of the next generation of ultra-strong materials comes from researchers over at the University of California, Riverside and Purdue University.

Their latest research will be published in the journal entitled Advanced Materials, and it describes for the very first time (once again, not previously reported in nature) about the unique herringbone structure that is found within the appendage’s outer layer. It is because of this particular structure that does not only protect that Mantis Shrimp’s club upon impact, but also it enables the crustacean to inflict incredible amounts of damage to its prey.

The crustacean, which is also known as stomatopods. does come in two variants, them being “smashers” and “spearers.” While the latter variant can kill prey by driving a “spear” into the soft-bodied sea creatures, the former variant, on the other hand, can kill other hard-shelled prey, such as snails and crabs, as it is able to smash through their durable shells with incredible speed and force. Its dactyl club is able to reach an acceleration of 10,000g. This is equivalent to unleashing a barrage of impacts with the speed of a 0.22 caliber bullet.

For the previous eight years, Winston Chung Endowed Professor in Energy Innovation in UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering David Kisallus, along with his team, has been closely studying the Mantis Shrimp, more specifically that of the smashers and their dactyl clubs, to use them as inspiration to produce the next generation of composite materials. Their study is already being translated into real-world products with the help of Nature Inspired Industries.

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