How can a box fish help shape the future of armor?
In a recent study conducted at the University of California, in San Francisco, a team of engineers have studied the biological structure of the Box Fish. The outlying structure of this animal has drawn the attention of body armor producers. The research found by this team could alter the way all companies make their armor. The box fish has been able to survive for years against far larger predators because of their outlying structure. In turn, organizations like the Air Force have now taken measures to try to implement the technology in future armor. But what exactly is all the hype?
The Box Fish
The Box Fish is a bony marine fish that is in the Tetradontiformes, this family of fish are known for their biological modifications that they have evolved to form. It gets its name from its unusual shape caused from its protective hard armor. This fish also has several names in which it is referred to,including trunk fish, cowfish, and coffer fish. Although, the box fish moves extremely slowly, it has several additions that aide in its survival. These include a hard armor surrounding all the vital insides of the fish, and a poisonous secretion in reply to tense situations. The poisonous secretion can only be triggered if the Box Fish is threaten. The armor on the Box Fish is a tradeoff, it protects against possible predators, but makes their movement much slower. However, what it lacks in speed it makes up for in protection. The outlying armor that surrounds the Box Fish is what has caught the eyes of Body Armor specialist.
The Inspiration behind the Change
The outside arrangement and anatomy of the scales of the Box Fish, are the focal point of the inspiration behind reforming the structure of body armor. The armor itself is comparable to an infant skull, it develops and grows as the animal matures. The scales, referred to as scutes, are connected by sutores, and eventually fused together as one. Their zig zag pattern eventually locks into a strong structure. The shape of the scales is the first interesting piece to this puzzle. The hexagonal shaped scales, are not notably known to be apart any other animal but the bonefish, although they do overlap like majority of fish scales. Their over lapping shape makes for a strong and reliable structure. In addition to overlapping the shape of the borders of the scales makes this overlapping of the hard scales, allows for complete protection with no weak penetrable areas. Another interesting aspect of the scales is that there is a star shaped structure in the middle that covers the scales and applies pressure. The other interesting aspect and one of the highest curiosity, is the addition of the underlying layer of collagen fibers. These fibers act as a stabilizer in the instance a predator does penetrate the outlying scales. If such an occurrence were to happen the collagen stabilizes the structure so it may not be compromised, and thus the assumption is that it assist with no further penetration. This unique structure has caught the eye of several military and engineering researchers.
What that means for body armor?
The application of this bio technology could be used to produce a whole new category of armor. The numerous observations and studies conducted have shown that the reinforcement if the outer shell makes its nearly implausible for predators to penetrate the structure. If applied to body armor, we could create a structure that has a whole new level of ballistic protection.
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