Yvonne Carts-Powell

Mother-of-pearl inspires super-strong material

In beautiful, technology on April 22, 2014 at 7:30 am

A while back, I wrote an article about the teeth of sea urchins, which are extraordinary. The teeth, which are fairly standard calcium compounds, manage to chew through much harder rock as the urchins grind protective holes for themselves. The trick lay in both the macro-structure of the teeth (with a strong dense keel) and the micro-structure (with a cutting edge that fractured to expose new sharp cutting edges).

This related work on another calcium-based material shows how controlling fractures with microstructure can strengthen relatively brittle materials. Mother-of-pearl inspires super-strong material.

Play with your food!

In beautiful, hilarious, technology on April 15, 2014 at 7:16 am


Two of my favorite things! Cooking and 3D printers! NPR’s “The Salt” discusses the confluence of the two. Spinach Dinosaurs To Sugar Diamonds: 3-D Printers Hit The Kitchen.

By the way, years ago I was promised that I’d soon be offered breakfast cereal encrusted with sugar holograms… I suspect the plan was brought low by either a price point or a humidity calculation. So sad, I was looking forward to the view of a cheery breakfast bowl of diffraction gratings, if not the super-sweetness that would be involved.

Just gorgeous!

In beautiful, technology on April 8, 2014 at 7:08 am


Public Domain Treasures: The CDC’s Electron Micrographs Are Free To Use | Compound Eye, Scientific American Blog Network.


That photo, by the way? It’s a false-color electron micrograph of part of a bedbug. Who knew?


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