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© Louise LE BARBENCHON / I2M / CNRS Images



Biological library

Looking atthe living world, its shapes, materials and structures, can inspire the materials of tomorrow. Take this cuttlefish bone, whose unique features are revealed under the microscope. Its microstructure, arranged in layers, columns and undulations, gives it remarkable properties, such as a high degree of rigidity despite very low density – with porosity of around 93%. Rather than suddenly breaking when struck, cuttlefish bone, which is made up of the calcium carbonate mineral aragonite, is instead able to absorb a large amount of mechanical energy. This damage tolerance could prove very useful in the design of future bio-inspired materials, such as ceramic foams, for the protection of people and property. This image was taken using scanning electron microscopy. It is one of the winners of the 2022 La preuve par l’image (LPPI) photography competition.

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