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Chiton: This ‘wandering meatloaf’ has rare minerals in its teeth.



Although it appears to be a tour update for musician Meat Loaf, the research involves a large mollusk called a chiton (not a “bat out of hell”). Because it is large, reddish-brown and shaped like a meatloaf escaping from a pan. It lives along the chiton rocky shoreline that is the largest in the world. Can be up to 13 inches long

The researchers were surprised to find santa barbarite in the mollusk’s teeth. Because previously it was only found in rocks.

Chitons need hard teeth because they chew stones to scrape off algae and other nutrients. Their teeth are one of the hardest materials in nature and are attached to a flexible tongue-like structure called a radula.

The new research helps scientists understand how chiton teeth can withstand the wear and tear of their food needs. This will allow them to develop 3D printer inks that can create ultra-hard and durable materials.

The study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Never seen in a ̵
6;biological context’

Colossal fish are commonly found thousands of feet in the ocean washed up on California beaches.

“This mineral is only found in very small amounts of geological samples,” said Derk Joester, senior study author and associate professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering. and never seen before in a biological context.

“There is a high water content which makes it strong and low density We think this can make teeth harder without adding much weight.”

The researchers found mineralization in the chiton’s upper stylus using a variety of analytical methods at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source and Northwestern University’s Center for Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization, both in Illinois. The ton stylus connects the teeth to the radula.

“The stylus is like the root of a human tooth. which connects the tops of our teeth and our jaws,” Joster said. “It is a durable material composed of extremely small nanoparticles in a biomolecular fiber matrix. similar to the bones in our bodies.”

Learn from Kaiton Engineering

Inspired by this material, Joester and his research group wanted to recreate it as an ink for 3D printing. The ink contains iron and phosphate, a natural compound produced by chiton. When the ink dries, it creates a solid material.

“We’ve been fascinated by Kaiton for a long time,” Joster said. “The mechanical structure is as good as the with its weakness Therefore, it will be interesting to learn how chiton solved engineering problems of how to connect its super-hard teeth to soft structures.

“This remains a major challenge in modern manufacturing. So we look at organisms like the chiton to understand how this happens in nature. which has a development time of two hundred million years.”


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