17 May 2012

Sea shells inspired a new material made of chalk and polystyrene


The sea shells are strong and resistant to fracturing, because the calcium carbonate is combined with proteins which bind the crystals together, like bricks in a wall, to make the material stronger and sometimes tougher. A team of materials scientists and chemists from The University of Manchester and The University of Leeds have taken inspiration from sea shells found on the beach to create a composite material from dissimilar ‘ingredients’.
They have successfully reinforced calcium carbonate, or chalk, with polystyrene particles that are used to make drinks cups. The researchers developed an effective method of combining calcite crystals with polystyrene particles which makes the material more ductile compared to its original brittle form.
//Marcela

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