You are likely aware that sea sponges have contributed much to our lives in many important ways. From the time of Ancient Greece, when gladiators used its exquisitely smooth texture and rich lather to prepare for battle, to the present day.
Today we know sea sponges do more for us than the awesome job they’ve been doing in our homes for millennia. These very helpful neighbors are currently in use in the fields of medicine and information and communication technology.
Fortunately for us, once more the sea sponge proves to be exceptionally beneficial to humankind – this time in the fields of architecture and engineering.
The most famous of the glass sponges, the Venus Flower Basket is one of the most beautiful creatures in the world. Its structural design is one of the wonders of nature.
Now people are seriously contemplating a revolution in building design inspired by natural design – like the Venus Flower Basket.
Michael A. Monn, a Ph D student at Brown University has been extensively involved in studying what makes the Venus flower basket glass so flexible and as a result – impressively strong. He has explored the skeleton’s exceptional design in an attempt to simulate their natural design. The knowledge gained by his studies could change how we build much stronger buildings and bridges.
Do Onto Me As I Do Unto You
People have been reaping the countless benefits sea sponges have been willing to share for thousands of years. At times, it seems like there’s hardly anything the world’s longest living species can’t do.
Nevertheless, in order to discover the natural sponges’ full potential, we must make a wholly concerted effort to protect their environment. The sea sponge is the longest living animal species while revealing to us how to revolutionize our greatest innovations.
Do It Better One More Time
Sea sponges have recently become increasingly important in the fields of medicine and information technology. Holding great promise in our attempt to eradicate some of the most life-threatening infections, such as MRSA. There has been evidence that shows the same chemicals within the sponge being effective against cancer cells.
The glass sponge’s skeleton are made up of glass spicules, which promise to make our fiber optics more resistant to breakage as well as much easier to manufacture.
I’m confident that sea sponges are capable of revealing to us far superior methods of using our technology to propel humanity forward.
Change Is Good
What is so intriguing about the glass sponge is its ability to grow its skeleton in such a pattern as to construct a beautiful lattice structure known as a glass house. One of these glass sponges called the Venus Flower Basket is no exception.
It turns out that their structure turns out to be made in such a way as to maximize flexibility and strength. Not only the glass itself which is stronger than our own, but much more flexible as well.
This beautiful glass sponge has revealed her secret to building strong and flexible. As soon as we are able to mirror her design, we will build our infrastructure differently.
Bend But Don’t Brake
The sheer strength of the glass sponges’ glass is associated with its molecular structure. Michael A. Monn, a PhD student at Brown University, has been studying the spicules of the Venus Flower Basket. In particular, he’s looking at those that are responsible for keeping the sponge attached to the soft sea floor.
He noticed that at the microscopical level the glass in these spicules had a specific arrangement. Another example would be a clams shell – it’s strength depends upon the arrangement of its shell on the microscopic level.
It is believed, by this investigator, that this specific mechanical design afford these particular spicules to bend further before breaking. This flexibility allows the sponge to remain fixed to the sea floor more strongly.
The spicules from this particular glass sponge were compared to those of other sea sponges with the same chemical composition but without any layers. It was discovered that the spicules belonging to the Venus flower basket were able to bend around 2.4 times farther than those of other sea sponges which lack the layers.
If we can someday build structures with the flexibility of the glass found in the Venus flower basket, the possibilities are astounding. Imagine buildings and bridges that can withstand the force of a powerful earthquake, for example. Perhaps we will be able to dive deeper than we do today and explore the until now unexplored depths of our oceans.
Imagine lighter and stronger rockets and spacecrafts that could require only a fraction of the fuel. Getting to Mars could take significantly less time, making a return trip to earth more likely
The Glass House
Sea sponges are spectacular animals in their own right. They have ensured their survival for over 600 million years; that’s longer than any other species on earth.
They have also been an integral part of human history. From exquisite baths since ancient times to present day contributions in medicine and much promise in the information and communication technology field, sea sponges continue to make their mark on humanity’s journey.
A certain kind of glass sponge known as the Venus Flower Basket is once again showing promise in showing us how we can build stronger structures by making them more flexible.
The secret to the strength of these sponges’ glass spicules are buried deep in its microscopic architecture. It is designed in such a fashion that it forms concentric layers shaped like three rings. These layers are what give the glass the greater flexibility it needs to resist being broken as easily as if it contained only one layer.
We are students of nature. There’s so much to learn from that which has been designing countless structures since the beginning of time. It will be very wise for us to do all we can to protect nature and her yet undiscovered secrets.
What do you think about the glass sponge’s impressive structural strength?
Do you think we will see a shift in how we design the structures we currently build?
Are you aware of any designs that have been created by nature which are being used by humans?
Leave me a comment below,
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