Enamel – cooler than you think!

Background

I would imagine your first question is ‘Why is enamel resistant to vibrations?’ And that is a good question. Nature has had millions and millions of years to engineer a material for animal teeth that can handle the pressures, stresses and friction of eating/chewing. Biology came up with enamel. Hard ceramic columns are surrounded by a protein matrix. Ceramics are very strong (meaning they only fail under very high loads) The soft biological matrix surrounds in order to dissipate the energy and prevent stress concentration

How humans made it and uses

Researchers have emulated mother natures design with zinc oxide nano wires with a surrounding polymer matrix. Situations where there are many vibrations would be good candidates for where this material could be used. Rocket/plane electronics are a good use.

Challenges

The process of making the material is very arduous and requires creating it layer by layer.  Each layer is a micrometer thick and to create enough material to actually engineer anything would take years!

Read more in this Michigan University Study

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