Armor of the Future -- Fish Scales?

Imagine living in a world with fearsome predators - large fearsome predators with sharp teeth, claws, and spiked tails! To survive, the Polypterus senagelus fish evolved special armor scales to protect itself during territorial fighting and feeding. Today, these fish can be found at the bottom of freshwater, muddy shallows and estuaries in Africa. The scales protect the quarrelsome fish from the bites of its fellow fish, as well as predators, and are the new hot topic in designing the armor of the future. U. S. researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been studying the light, multilayered design of the Polypterus senegalus and have finally figured out how it works!

The scales are layered on top of each other so that the pressure of a crunching enemy bite is deflected. And when cracks do occur, they don't travel far! The clever design of the scales forces cracks to run in a circle instead of spreading throughout. This allows the puncture wound to be localized and kept to a minimum. Scientists and researchers hope to incorporate this clever design into lightweight and effective human armor systems.

Source: Fish scales may point to armor of the future

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