根據一份發表在「自然原料」期刊上的報導，一種生長在西非泥池已有九千六百萬年的特殊魚類身上的鱗片，未來可被製做成國防用的輕巧防彈衣。 由美國國防部支援的科學家長期以來研究這種稱為葫蘆魚，也被稱為塞內加爾多鰭魚或恐龍鰻魚的鱗片。 這種約有四十公分長的細長魚屬於古代魚類，有好幾層鱗片，不但可以化解外部攻擊力量，同時可以不受任何對皮下軟組織的入侵，還能立即將攻擊傷害化解到最小。 美國麻省理工學院的專家，利用奈米技術毫髮無傷的從活魚身上取下鱗片加以研究。 他們發現這種只有五億分之一公尺厚的鱗片共有四層，並把這些小小的保護體用在模擬的撕咬攻擊上。他們相信這些鱗片由於不同的組成物質、化合物和厚度，可以發揮很大的保護效果。
Published online: 27 July 2008 | doi:10.1038/nmat2231
Materials design principles of ancient fish armour
Knowledge of the structure–property–function relationships of dermal scales of armoured fish could enable pathways to improved bioinspired human body armour, and may provide clues to the evolutionary origins of mineralized tissues. Here, we present a multiscale experimental and computational approach that reveals the materials design principles present within individual ganoid scales from the 'living fossil' Polypterus senegalus. This fish belongs to the ancient family Polypteridae, which first appeared 96 million years ago during the Cretaceous period and still retains many of their characteristics. The mechanistic origins of penetration resistance (approximating a biting attack) were investigated and found to include the juxtaposition of multiple distinct reinforcing composite layers that each undergo their own unique deformation mechanisms, a unique spatial functional form of mechanical properties with regions of differing levels of gradation within and between material layers, and layers with an undetectable gradation, load-dependent effective material properties, circumferential surface cracking, orthogonal microcracking in laminated sublayers and geometrically corrugated junctions between layers.
- Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
- Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
- These authors contributed equally to this work