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Crab-Crushing Mantis Shrimp Study Could Lead to Human Body Armor

A shrimp mantis; the ocean dwellers are being studied at the molecular level because engineers believe they could help in designing lighter and stronger body armor.

Krishnan Vasuvedan

You won’t be calling a guy a shrimp when he’s wearing super strong mantis armor. 

Using electron microscopes, engineers have been studying how the mantis shrimp’s strong hammer-like claws work at the molecular level, and have found that unlike many man-made materials, they are both stiff and tough.

The claws, which are used to smash mollusks and crabs, deliver blow after blow with the acceleration of a 0.22-caliber bullet without breaking or cracking. Scientists think that these thumb-splitters, as fishermen call them, might be able to help lead to super lightweight body armor and other biology-mimicking materials.

Humans trying to learn about armor and weaponry from powerful crustaceans? We’ve heard this somewhere before

Video by Krishnan Vasuvedan.