A very brittle and fragile material sea urchin is made up of calcite and referred to it the spines are much more durable than the raw materials alone. The reason behind its strength is the way natures optimises material using brick wall-style architecture and the whole research is conducted by the team of Physical Chemistry, headed by Professor Helmut Colfen. He successfully synthesized cement at the nano—level according to brick and mortar principle.
Researchers described their cement, which is importantly more fracture-resistant comparing to anything so far, providing them with completely new construction probability. Using this cement a pillar can be made with the height of 8,000 metres, ten times more than the height of current tallest building in the world, before the material at its base would be destroyed by its weight. The normal steel used at present can reach only 3,000 metres in height which has the value of 250 megapascals.
Mortar who keeps each layer of the brick at place is compared with the brick wall architecture work of mason in nano-science. The directing principle describes that first layer to be hard material, then soft, hard, and then soft materials again. The same principle is followed in case of nature making sea urchin spines so resilient. Energy is transferred to soft disordered layer when a force is applied to the brittle calcite and showing crack in crystalline block. Additional cracking is prevented since the material has no cleavages.
Crystalline blocks in an orderly structure are surrounded by a softer amorphous area when a thin section of sea urchin spine reveals it through structural principle and the material in this sea urchin’s case is calcium carbonate. Using the same way Mussels shells or bones is formed and they aimed at learning new from nature. One of the natural phenomena to inspire technical developments for employing is bionics or biomimetics.
Additionally they collaborated with the University of Stuttgart in order to use an ion beam under an electron microscope for cutting bar-shaped micro-structure out of the nano-structured cement that was the size of three micrometers and later bent micro –structure with the help of micro-manipulator.
Researchers explained calcite is the reason behind development of urchin spines and mussel shells because of presence of large quantities of calcium. Society have much better material present with them and if they succeed in designing the structures of materials and also produce nature’s blueprints will result in much more fracture resistant material with high performance materials inspired.