Posts tagged with ‘materials science’
After producing a story about UC San Diego materials scientists coming up with a novel method inspired by the narwhal’s long, spiral tooth, it was fun to see our local barista wearing a shirt emblazoned with the arctic whale.
A narwhal is an arctic whale with a long tusk that’s reminiscent of the mythic unicorn, but it’s actually a long, spiral tooth that juts out of its mouth. This interesting, spiral structure inspired University of California, San Diego researchers to develop a novel method in materials science.
Materials scientists at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have looked to the narwhal for bio-inspiration. This arctic whale’s spiraling tusk, which is a long tooth that juts out of its mouth, led researchers to invent a method called magnetic freeze casting. The result? Bio-inspired type bone. We’ll soon feature an interview with one of the researchers, Joanna McKittrick, about this new invention.
Bio-inspired materials essentially use Mother Nature as a guide. Materials scientist Joanna McKittrick of the University of California, San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering is interested in making new materials that have enhanced mechanical properties.
"And one way to do that is to look at how Mother Nature has created structures such as antlers or horns or porcupine quills, looking at feathers for example for lightweight structures. Same thing with the porcupine quills. Antlers and animal horns are impact resistant so they can absorb a lot of energy before they break. And that would be good for making bumpers or kneepads or helmets. "
Recently, McKittrick’s team has been inspired by the seahorse.
"The surprising thing about the seahorse is its tail. It can wrap and it can bend, it can curl up, but it can also curl to the sides. So it is very flexible and we thought wow that would make a good probe; that would make a good robot arm."