Imagine a very sophisticated, durable and flexible body armor, a shield that consists largely of water, but remains strong enough to prevent mechanical penetration.
Now imagine that this armor is not only strong, but also soft and supple, so much so that the wearer can easily move their body parts, whether they swim in the water, walk through the ground or precipitate towards escape danger.
That description may look like a dress worn by an imaginary hero in the DC Comics series, but actually describes parts of a lobster exoskeleton.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard believe that the soft membrane covering the joints and the abdomen of the animal ̵
The results of the researchers appeared in a recent edition of the journal Acta Materialia .
"We think this work will motivate the design of flexible reinforcements," Ming Guo, th and d & # 39; Arbeloff Career Development Assistant in MIT's mechanical engineering department, told MIT News, emphasizing that the lobster membrane has helped survive on Earth for over 100 million years.
If you could make armor with these types of materials, you could move your joints freely and it would make you feel more comfortable. "
Ballistic vests – commonly referred to as" armor "- are widely used According to the National Institute of Justice, the agents of the order forces have had the merit of having saved thousands of officers from ammunition and rifle ammunition.
Like the Washington Post & # 39; s Devlin Barrett reported in 2017, Kevlar – a braided fiber panel designed to stop the bullets from the guns – has expiration dates and usually do not last more than five years.
The body's armor may also be unsuitable, particularly for women who sometimes require custom adaptation, according to NIJ.
Studies have shown that the & rsquo; Body armor can also jeopardize the shooting and the wearer's attention, in addition to increasing "the physiological cost to complete a task when it is in service", simultaneously
Researchers at MIT believe that lobsters can offer a solution to the problem that afflicts most modern armor: more mobility offers armor, less protects the wearer body
Guo told MIT News that the idea of developing a lobster-inspired armor arrived as he ate one and noticed that the transparent membrane on the animal's belly was hard to chew. Unlike the outer shell resembling a crustacean bone, the softer tissues of the animal remained a mystery, he said.
Once the researchers began to dissect those tissues, they made a surprising discovery. Making significant cuts in the membrane did not affect the elasticity of the material.
The researchers established that the elasticity and strength are due to the unique membrane structure, which includes tens of thousands of layers that they compare with the plywood. The fibers inside these layers help the material dissipate energy when under stress, making it "tolerant of damage," the researchers write.
"The knowledge learned from the soft membrane of natural lobsters sheds light on the design of soft synthetic materials, but strong and hard materials for reliable use in extreme mechanical conditions, including a flexible armor that can provide protection complete body without sacrificing limb mobility. "
Guo told MIT News that the material designed to replicate the strength and flexibility of lobster membranes could
The Washington Post  This article was originally published by The Washington Post .