Helmets are our savior in a difficult situation such as accidents. Hence, it is important that the helmet should be tough enough to resist the friction and save your head from any injury. But now, we may have a more tough helmet and body armor. Yes, the scientists at MIT have revealed the secrets behind the conch shells’ surprising toughness that assisted in producing a superiorly protective body armor and helmet. The shells of the marine creatures take a hit from the force owing to tides & storms, sharp-toothed predators, and rocky shores.
Research conducted in recent times have illustrated that the conch shells catch the eye in comparison to others when considering its toughness. According to a graduate student at MIT, Grace Gu, these shells have a really exclusive structure, which makes the substance tougher by 10 times the nacre (the mother of pearls).
The team explained that the resistance to fracture, or toughness, is obtained from a special arrangement on the basis of 3 distinct hierarchy levels in the internal configuration of the material. The three-leveled configuration makes it extremely difficult any small break to increase and extend. The substance has a zigzag matrix, hence the break has to go via a sort of a labyrinth in order to extend.
Even though the conch shells’ structure was understood, it was not possible to replicate it. However, the 3D printing technology developed by the lab enabled them to imitate the structure and validate it. The team did not use real shell samples as they can have the unpredictable alterations, which can obscure the study. The invention consisted of the potential of the team to stimulate the behavior of the material and examine its definite performance under practical conditions.
With the use of 3D printing technology, it can be possible to make individualized body armors and helmets. According to Gu, every helmet can be personalized and modified it can be optimized for you by the computer on the basis of your skull’s scan, and the helmet can be printed only for you.
Isn’t it an amazing property of the conch shell? What do you think about it?