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 wraps around 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 11 years and over $9 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.
the R&D process