Millions of years ago, the "smasher" mantis shrimp, one of nature's feistiest predators, evolved to develop an internal structure to protect its hammer-like club it uses to pulverize prey with incredible speed and force. This unique structure that forms the mantis shrimp's club protects it from self-inflicting damage as it crushes hard-shelled prey. The University of California Riverside (UCR) has spent over 14 years and over $10 million dollars reverse engineering the club and has determined that it is not the material, but the structure that provides the strength and toughness. The material is organized in sheets of locally parallel fibers that are stacked upon each other such that each sheet is skewed by an angle from the sheet below it. This unique architecture is called a helicoid and has now been broadly patented by UCR and licensed to Helicoid Industries Inc. to commercialize its use in composite materials.
Manufacturing ultra-strong composite materials and components using this helicoid structure will result in them being lighter, stronger, tougher, and more impact resistant. Manufacturing any composite product that is currently made with traditional fiber alignment and simply utilizing the helicoid structure, will provide one of two benefits (or a combination of both); 1) composite parts would provide similar strength and toughness, but would require less material to achieve these properties, thus resulting in reduced material costs, reduced weight, and better energy efficiency and/or 2) using the same amount of material would significantly increase the strength, toughness, and damage resistance which would be preferred in applications where weight reduction is not a driving factor such as armor plating or bullet proof vests. The benefits of the helicoid structure have been demonstrated regardless of the materials used to create the composite material.
This helicoid structure is a platform technology that can easily be applied to numerous industries that are constantly searching for lighter and stronger components.
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the R&D process