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The mantis shrimp changing composites

Researchers with UC Riverside along with Helicoid Industries are using the structural design of the Mantis Shrimp to create stronger and lighter composite materials. 

A new technology has been created by researchers at the University of California, Riverside and it was discovered from the Mantis Shrimp.

Davis Kisailus with UCR says, "We realized these organisms that have evolved for over 400 million years have evolved these structures that are really strong and tough. And we know this because they can smash their prey, clams and crabs, at accelerations faster than a 22 caliber bullet… underwater.".

With the help of Helicoid Industries, this structure is in the stages to be applied to composites inside of planes, drones, cars, and sports equipment. The structure is called a helicoid, the material in use has fibers, made out of some organic material but those fibers are stacked in rows. Each row is rotated a small degree forming a spiral like structure called a helicoid. 

The reason behind creating this technology is that it can make all composites lighter, stronger, more impact resistant, and cheaper to produce. In other words, if you can make your composite thinner for an airplane, then your aircraft will be lighter. The lighter material will help save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Referring to the design within the mantis club, Davis Kisailus states their key question, "Could we replace the complex sugars and bone mineral with carbon fiber or other materials and make a composite material and see how tough and strong it is compared to what design you might find for example in a Boeing 787 or automobile and when we did that comparison, the mantis shrimps design was 50% tougher than what’s in the Boeing 787."

This can also be applied to wind turbines. Chad Wasilenkoff, CEO and founder of Helicoid Industries says, "Utilizing the helicoid technology should reduce the overall weight, allowing those blades to be larger. If you can double the length of a wind turbine blade you get four times the energy efficiency." In reference to electric vehicles, it can increase overall mileage.

With simply replacing sports equipment, like a football helmet with a stronger and more impact resistant deign can help reduce head injury for players.

The end product will be the same but the structure will be more efficient.

For more information on Helicoid Industries you can visit their website:

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.


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