Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists create artificial mother of pearl

Date:
July 24, 2012
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
Mimicking the way mother of pearl is created in nature, scientists have for the first time synthesized the strong, iridescent coating found on the inside of some mollusks.

Abalone shells. Mimicking the way mother of pearl is created in nature, scientists have for the first time synthesized the strong, iridescent coating found on the inside of some molluscs.
Credit: kaowenhua / Fotolia

Mimicking the way mother of pearl is created in nature, scientists have for the first time synthesized the strong, iridescent coating found on the inside of some molluscs.

The research was published July 24 in the journal Nature Communications.

Nacre, also called mother of pearl, is the iridescent coating that is found on the inside of some molluscs and on the outer coating of pearls. By recreating the biological steps that form nacre in molluscs, the scientists were able to manufacture a material which has a similar structure, mechanical behavior, and optical appearance of that found in nature.

In order to create the artificial nacre, the scientists followed three steps. First, they had to take preventative measure to ensure the calcium carbonate, which is the primary component of nacre, does not crystallize when precipitating from the solution. This is done by using a mixture of ions and organic components in the solution that mimics how molluscs control this. The precipitate can then be adsorbed to surfaces, forming layers of well-defined thickness.

Next, the precipitate layer is covered by an organic layer that has 10-nm wide pores, which is done in a synthetic procedure invented by co-author Alex Finnemore. Finally, crystallization is induced, and all steps are repeated to create a stack of alternating crystalline and organic layers.

Professor Ulli Steiner, of the Department of Physics' Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, said: "Crystals have a characteristic shape that reflects their atomic structure, and it is very difficult to modify this shape. Nature is, however, able to do this, and through our research we were able to gain insight into how it grows these materials. Essentially, we have created a new recipe for mother of pearl using nature's cookbook."

Alex Finnemore, also of the Department of Physics' Cavendish Laboratory, said: "While many composite engineering materials outperform nacre, its synthesis entirely at ambient temperatures in an aqueous environment, as well as its cheap ingredients, may make it interesting for coating applications. Once optimized, the process is simple and can easily be automated."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cambridge. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons license. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexander Finnemore, Pedro Cunha, Tamaryn Shean, Silvia Vignolini, Stefan Guldin, Michelle Oyen, Ullrich Steiner. Biomimetic layer-by-layer assembly of artificial nacre. Nature Communications, 2012; 3: 966 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1970

Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "Scientists create artificial mother of pearl." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724115013.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2012, July 24). Scientists create artificial mother of pearl. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724115013.htm
University of Cambridge. "Scientists create artificial mother of pearl." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724115013.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins