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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Diatom Beams: Naturally Strong Silicious Honeycomb Architecture Posts

     "Beams made of sawn diatom shells and poked with a diamond-tipped probe until they cracked have revealed that the microbial armor has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any known biological material. According to the scientists who conducted the study, the remarkable toughness of this material is likely due to its honeycomb-like architecture and flawless silica build." SEM images of diatoms include ones like these:






      Diatoms are marine algae that come in a wide variety of shapes. Those with honeycomb shapes are especially strong.




     "The scientists studied the shells – called frustules – of Coscinodiscus, a hamburger-shaped diatom. Like all diatoms, it bears two frustules that fit together like the halves of a petri dish. The shells are perforated by pores."

        Further details of the study are described in this link. Some of these pores occur in Fibonacci patterns (similar to sunflower seed whorls) as in this SEM of another diatom.



        A closer look at the microstructure is seen in this diagram:




   

       Mighty perforated tiny organisms with great natural strength occurring in Fibonacci patterns and packed together in hexagonal groupings--anything familiar here?

          Anyone else reconcile Fibonacci numbers and hexagons by noting 6 is made of two sets of three? Other thoughts?

Diatomaceously yours,
Steph

Beware today, 3/15:




31 comments:

  1. equilateral triangle = strong
    hexagon - 6 equilateral triangles = strong X 6
    The Scrabble value of Fibonacci = 3 X 6
    The Fibonacci sequence includes no 6, but the sum and product of its third, fourth and fifth numbers is 6.

    LegoAlasIsNotReallyMuchOfAReconciler

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    Replies
    1. All good points, Lego. If I think of Fibonacci more as something that optimizes growth patterns, rather than strength in packing, it works.

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  2. Reblogged this by link at http://topofjcsmind.wordpress.com.
    Thanks for the great post!

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  3. jan, for your spider-hating friend : Is he named Brian, by any chance?

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    Replies
    1. Alas, no, she's a Jeanne.

      I imagine there are clever people trying to get diatoms to grow useful strong, light things for them, say, on cheap, flimsy matrices?

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    2. So "Jeanne" is still available for spider-naming ;-).

      That would be a great idea!

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  4. Mr. Monte, my 7th-grade Earth Science teacher, jokingly (and inaccurately) called himself a tidal bore. Cowabunga!

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  5. Replies
    1. Scarce water and math by Turing--wow! Thanks, jan.

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    2. So, we've gone from Alpha-Bits to Honeycomb to Lucky Charms. What's next?

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    3. Indeed. Though, were the leprechauns and fairies here in CO they'd be blowing around wildly today. . .

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    4. Yeah, my brother-in-law was all excited about the snow in Vail overnight. 45 mph gusts sound exciting, too.

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    5. We really needed the snow. . .though I could do without the wind. I don't know how people in Wyoming survive the constant Wind.

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  6. ^^^ See photo above: beware today ;-)!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks; you inspired a clue over at that other blog.

      And, in one month, the Ides of Taxes are upon you!

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    2. That's French for Et tu, Brute, isn't it?

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  7. Replies
    1. Moving from science and language to politics (on the Ides of March)? That's crossing the RUBIcOn!

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    2. Good one. . .It is quite scary.

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  8. New post on "Geologic Field Camp: Blooming and In Tents, Lumping and Splitting" is now up.

    Happy almost spring!

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