Super strong cement inspired by sea urchins

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A project by physical chemistry teams from the University of Konstanz and University of Stuttgart, led by Professor Helmut Cölfen, may have found a way to make cement that is much stronger and more fracture resistant than current versions – using lessons learned from sea urchins. Sea urchin spines are made mostly of calcite, a mineral that is usually very brittle. However, the urchin spines are interspersed at the nano level with softer disordered layers. When force is applied to the brittle calcite, the energy is transferred to the soft layer, which prevents cracking. As each component in cement sticks…

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