Genghis Khan bathed in sherbet ice cream.
This is how The Oatmeal described the beautiful, but beautiful mantis shrimp in their comic: “Why the mantis shrimp is my new favorite animal.”
These little guys, along with 20 other animals, will serve as inspiration for a team of engineers and researchers — led by UC Riverside’s David Kisailus. Of particular interest are the claws of the mantis shrimp (or “murder sticks” as they’re referred to in the comic), which it uses to kill prey and break apart oysters, crabs, and mollusks.
Working with biologists and chemists, these engineers will study their biological systems and cellular structures to see if they can use those insights to develop stronger, tougher materials. Natural structures like shells, beaks and antlers are particularly interesting because they are composed of relatively simple materials (aka not industrial strength), yet display incredible strength and mechanical performance.
This multidisciplinary research will highlight the value in biologically-inspired materials allowing the next generation of materials development to take advantage of what nature has known for millennia.