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3D Print of Conch Shell in Lab with the help of Iranian Researcher

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3D Print of Conch Shell in Lab with the help of Iranian Researcher

Isna
Researchers from MIT University with the help of Mehdi Takkalofi were able to use the 3d print conch shell with goal of using them in helmets/
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 9:41:00 AM

According to ScienceDaily, Conch shells have a unique architecture. The structure makes the material 10 times tougher than nacre, commonly known as mother of pearl.

This toughness, or resistance to fractures, comes from a unique configuration based on three different levels of hierarchy in the material's internal structure.

The three-tiered structure makes it very hard for any tiny cracks to spread and enlarge. The material has a "zigzag matrix, so the crack has to go through a kind of a maze" in order to spread.

Until recently, even after the structure of the conch shell was understood, "you couldn't replicate it that well. But now, our lab has developed 3-D printing technology that allows us to duplicate that structure and be able to test it," says Buehler, who is the head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Protective helmets and other impact-resistant gear require a key combination of both strength and toughness, Buehler explains. Strength refers to a material's ability to resist damage, which steel does well, for example. Toughness, on the other hand, refers to a material's ability to dissipate energy, as rubber does. Traditional helmets use a metal shell for strength and a flexible liner for both comfort and energy dissipation. But in the new composite material, this combination of qualities is distributed through the whole material.

Because of the use of 3-D printing technology, this system would make it possible to produce individualized helmets or other body armor. Each helmet, for example, could be "tailored and personalized; the computer would optimize it for you, based on a scan of your skull, and the helmet would be printed just for you.

Details of this scientific discovery was published in Advanced Materials.




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