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A protocol for bioinspired design: A ground sampler based on sea urchin jaws

TitleA protocol for bioinspired design: A ground sampler based on sea urchin jaws
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsFrank M.B, Naleway S.E, Wirth T.S, Jung J.Y, Cheung C.L, Loera F.B, Medina S., Sato K.N, Taylor J.RA, McKittrick J.
JournalJove-Journal of Visualized Experiments
Date Published2016/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1940-087X
Accession NumberWOS:000380256000024
Keywords3D printing; Aristotle's lantern; Bioengineering; Bioinspiration; composites; echinodermata; echinoidea; Issue 110; lantern; micro-computed; paracentrotus-lividus; Sea urchin; surfaces; system; teeth; tomography; toughness

Bioinspired design is an emerging field that takes inspiration from nature to develop high-performance materials and devices. The sea urchin mouthpiece, known as the Aristotle's lantern, is a compelling source of bioinspiration with an intricate network of musculature and calcareous teeth that can scrape, cut, chew food and bore holes into rocky substrates. We describe the bioinspiration process as including animal observation, specimen characterization, device fabrication and mechanism bioexploration. The last step of bioexploration allows for a deeper understanding of the initial biology. The design architecture of the Aristotle's lantern is analyzed with micro-computed tomography and individual teeth are examined with scanning electron microscopy to identify the microstructure. Bioinspired designs are fabricated with a 3D printer, assembled and tested to determine the most efficient lantern opening and closing mechanism. Teeth from the bioinspired lantern design are bioexplored via finite element analysis to explain from a mechanical perspective why keeled tooth structures evolved in the modern sea urchins we observed. This circular approach allows for new conclusions to be drawn from biology and nature.

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