Snail's Armor Eyed By Military

Discussion in 'Inverts' started by Matt Rogers, Jan 20, 2010.

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  1. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    MIT materials scientist Christine Oritz believes her research with the three-layered scaly-foot snail, Crysomallon squamiferum, could lead to better body armor for the U.S. military. The snails were discovered near hydrothermal vents on the floor on the India Ocean in 2003 and have not only adapted to extreme temperatures and acidity, they have literally evolved their shell to resist being squeezed from crab claws. The outer layer of the snail's shell is composed of iron sulfides, and beyond the thick middle layer, the inner layer is composed of aragonite.

    [​IMG]
    Gastropod helmets in our future?

    "They found that each of the layers contributes differently to the armour's effectiveness. The middle protein layer appears to absorb the mechanical energy of a squeezing attack, as well as dissipating heat."

    The scaly-foot snail is the only animal known to have iron-sulfides as part of its structure. Ortiz is a member of MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and her research is partly funded by the U.S. Army and Department of Defense.

    You can read the entire summary of her work as published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences here:
    Protection mechanisms of the iron-plated armor of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent gastropod — PNAS



    Source:
    CBC News - Technology & Science - Snail's iron armour eyed by military
     
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  3. inwall75

    inwall75 Giant Squid

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    That's pretty cool. I hope they don't take this too far though

    EDIT: FOR SOME REASON, THE LINK DOESN'T DIRECTLY WORK. YOU HAVE TO CLICK ON THE WORDS, "WATCH ON YOUTUBE"

     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  4. pagojoe

    pagojoe Corkscrew Tentacle Anemone

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    Nice story. I remember when the snail was first discovered. A lot of the snail people puzzled over whether the report was real or a joke/hoax, since nothing even similar was known in the mollusc world.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Aye these are some strong snails. Thanks for the additional pic for reference.
     
  6. ZachB

    ZachB Giant Squid

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    Wow. Very cool. That's one heck of a snail

    If someone did that in front of my car, I'm not quite sure what I would do. It would take some serious restraint on my part.
     
  7. stepho

    stepho Panda Puffer

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    I want one!! Hopefully soon after the technology/design transitions to ice hockey helmets.