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
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.