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NTU researchers study little mighty creature for scientific breakthrough
Date:6/13/2012

A scientist from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) may be onto an ocean of discovery because of his research into a little sea creature called the mantis shrimp.

The research is likely to lead to making ceramics today's preferred material for medical implants and military body armour many times stronger. These findings were published in last Friday's Science, the world's top scientific journal, and focused on the mantis shrimp's ability to shatter aquarium glass and crab shells alike.

The common creature native to the Indo Pacific, has club-like 'arms' which can strike prey at speeds matching that of a 5.56mm rifle bullet. Each impact generates a force exceeding 50 kilograms, which is hundreds of times the mantis shrimp's weight.

Assistant Professor Ali Miserez, from NTU's School of Materials Science Engineering (MSE) and School of Biological Sciences (SBS), collaborated with Dr James Weaver from Harvard University as well as scientists from the University of California-Riverside, Purdue University, and Brookhaven National Laboratory in the United States.

They have observed down to the nanoscale the highly unique composite structure of the mantis shrimp's club and discovered that it is weaved together in a unique fashion to create a structure tougher than many engineered ceramics. This is the first time that the mantis shrimp's club is studied in such detail.

"The highly damage resistant property of the mantis shrimp could be most useful in medical products such as hip and joint implants, as they sustain impacts hundreds of times daily during walking and daily activities," said Asst Prof Miserez, a recipient of the National Research Foundation Fellowship, which provides a research grant of up to S$3 million over five years.

"Damaged hip implants are a real problem, and cost billions of dollars to the healthcare systems worldwide. They also cause painful surgeries to patients when they need to
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Contact: Lester Kok
lesterkok@ntu.edu.sg
65-679-06804
Nanyang Technological University
Source:Eurekalert

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