Researchers are turning to seashells yet again for inspiration into new technology that could help humans. This time, they are studying the clear, lightweight shell of the Placuna placenta mollusk in the hopes that they can develop new protective gear for our armed forces.
Seashells? Inspiring armor for our troops? Seems a little far-fetched, but scientists have done a lot of research to show the potential benefits. Researchers have found that these shells have diamond-shaped crystals that help dissipate energy from forces that are applied to it. These crystals not only deflect penetration, but they are clear enough to see through. The goal is to mimic shell structure in order to create new armor that should be less bulky than Kevlar.
The added bonus of using these mollusks as inspiration is that the transparent crystals could be helpful in creating optically clear materials that would resist a good amount of force. This could be helpful in the development of windows and windshields for combat vehicles, eye and face masks for soldiers.
Read more about this research here.