Biomimetic Science: Beyond Dentistry Part 2
In our last blog post we submerged ourselves into the world of Biomimetic science. Biomimetics or biomimicry being defined as: the imitation of systems, models and elements of nature to solve sophisticated human problems. Although our focus at Prescott Dentistry is on Biomimetic Dentistry specifically, it is always interesting and helpful to understand the different directions a scientific discipline is heading in addition to your own specialized field. Plus – some of these inventions and discoveries are just so out there that we just had to share!
Chameleon Inspired Material Changes Colors
Developed by researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, there is now an ultra-thin material that bounces back light on the nanoscale level. This invention was just announced earlier this month (March 2015). However, unlike chameleons, this material changes color when flexed or when force is applied to it’s surface. This new technology uses a completely new approach to generating color: microscopic ridges – even smaller than a wavelength of light – are etched into a silicon film 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. The ridges are so small that the space produces the different colors and the highly reflective surface bounces back 83% of light.
Transparent Oyster Shell Armor
Researchers from both France and MIT believe that in the near future cars and soldiers may be equipped with bio-inspired wind/heat shields and armor. Scientists are already experimenting with mimicking a species of oyster who’s shell is 99% ceramic and 80% transparent. This combination is an interesting jumping off point for a bullet-proof windshield. The next step would be to make a nano-composite structure with an anti-ballistic ceramic.
Researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research have been working with a similar inspiration: mother-of-pearl or nacre. Nacre is secreted inside shells and is excellent at absorbing energy. The researchers are using another natural element, the structure of ice crystals, as a map for building the armor.
As more amazing advances in Biomimetic science emerge we will be sure to share them with you. Please check back often for updates on these exciting developments as well as news and information regarding Prescott Dentistry and other services we provide.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/26/2015) Tambako The Jaguar (Flickr)