Friday, 7 July 2017

Amazing Material: Sea Sponge Makes Strong Glass That Bends But Doesn’t Break

The Venus flower basket. Image courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration.

Joel Kontinen

We might think that sea sponges such as the Venus flower basket (Euplectella aspergillum) are simple creatures, but research has shown that they have some incredible features.

A new paper describes why they are special:

The remarkable mechanical properties of biological structures, like tooth and bone, are often a consequence of their architecture. The tree ring-like layers that comprise the skeletal elements of the marine sponge Euplectella aspergillum are a quintessential example of the intricate architectures prevalent in biological structures. These skeletal elements, known as spicules, are hair-like fibers that consist of a concentric array of silica cylinders separated by thin, organic layers.”

The secret of their strength is in these tiny spicules:

Thousands of spicules act like roots to anchor the sponge to the sea floor.”

Made of a glass-like substance, they bend but do not break.

Other superb design features in animals such as the octopus, starfish, mantis shrimp and water strider likewise defy Darwinian explanations and are proof of creation.


Monn, Michael A. and Haneesh Kesari. 2017. Enhanced bending failure strain in biological glass fibers due to internal lamellar architecture. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials (in press).