I'm amused to see that the humble lobster may be the inspiration for a new generation of personal armor protection.
In a new paper ... researchers reveal that the soft underbelly of the American lobster is so great at protecting the creature’s insides from the jagged ocean floor that a similar material could be useful for humans as full-body protection.
The underside of the lobster’s tail is equipped with a membrane of incredible strength. Unlike the more rigid panels that cover the top side of the creature, the coating on its belly is very flexible. The team even compares it to industrial rubber in terms of its strength. Such materials are typical used in things like car tires and garden hoses, MIT says.
“Most modern body armors sacrifice limb protection to gain mobility, simply because none of the existing armor materials are flexible enough and they all inhibit movement of the arms and legs,” the researchers write. “Herein, we focus on the mechanics and mesoscopic structure of American lobsters’ soft membrane and explore how such a natural flexible armor is designed to integrate flexibility and toughness.”
There's more at the link.
This is amusing because, in the English Civil War (1642-1651), a unit of Parliamentarian cavalry formed and led by Sir Arthur Haselrig was proudly known as the London Lobsters. "The unit derived its name from the regiment being one of very few units raised as cuirassiers, equipped in suits of plate armour reaching from the head to the knee."
Talk about being ahead of your time! I daresay the shades of those old cavalrymen are raising a glass or two of their favorite beverage at the news of this advance in technology.