Meet the shrimp that's inspiring next-generation 3D printed armor – ZDNet

June 2, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ 3D Printed Articles

mantis-shrimp-3d-printing.jpgScreenshot via YouTube

The mantis shrimp is undeniably a beautiful creature, but its tendency to smash through aquarium glass means that you would rarely see the stomatopod outside of the open sea.

Colorful and powerful, the small shrimp uses a club to pulverize prey such as crabs with 10,000g force, similar to a .22 caliber bullet. However, the mantis shrimp’s armor and cell structure is what has caught the eye of researchers developing next-generation tough materials for use in defense.

This week, researchers from the University of California, Riverside and Purdue University revealed that the mantis shrimp is the focus of a study to develop new materials.

A fist-like appendage used by the shrimp to attack prey, called the dactyl club, has an unusual “herringbone” structure within the outer layer which allows the ‘fist’ to withstand the force of a strike, but also is key for the shrimp to be able to smash prey with such force.

The research, due to to be published in the journal Advanced Materials, describes how the team is exploring the herringbone structure, made of crystalline calcium phosphate — also found in human bone — alongside fibers of chitin.