Bone - Stronger Metals



The failure of metal structures is a serious safety risk, whether on the ground or in the air. Such metal “fatigue” may occur when microcracks multiply and spread over time until the material fails. This is especially true when there is a cycle of repeated metal stress. Perhaps you have broken a thin metallic object by bending it back and forth, causing it to crack and separate. Metal failure is typically addressed with added safety factors in design which require extra material and weight.

The structure of bone provides one solution to metal failure. Bones are a composite structure with three parts. Outermost is a layer of connective tissue called the periostenum. Beneath this layer is dense cortical bone which in turn covers the spongy, porous interior. This laminated structure gives excellent protection against breaking. If a scratch or microcrack occurs on a bone, the defect cannot spread easily because more energy is required for the separation to move through the layered structure. 

Engineers are experimenting with laminated steel and alloy structures similar to bone. These new metal designs show increased strength and resistance to failure. Bone structure gives us valuable insight for advancements in metallurgy and metal fabrication. This should be no surprise since nature is filled with practical designs, put in place by the Creator. The exploration of nature for new ideas, called biomimcry, owes its success to the One who made everything in the physical universe.    

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