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Soon, Glass That Bends But Does Not Break

Next time, if you drop a glass on the floor and it doesn't break, than you should thank a mollusk. Inspired by shellfish, scientists at Montreal's McGill University have developed a new type of glass which when dropped, would be more likely to deform than to shatter.

A new technique developed by researchers makes glass less brittle so that if it is dropped it simply bends and becomes slightly deformed rather than breaking.

Professor Francois Barthelat from the McGill University's department of mechanical engineering and his team took inspiration from the mechanics of natural structures like seashells in order to significantly increase the toughness of glass.

Mollusk shells are made up of about 95% chalk, which is very brittle in its pure form, said Barthelat.

"But nacre, or mother-of pearl , which coats the inner shells, is made up of microscopic tablets that are a bit like miniature Lego building blocks, is known to be extremely strong and tough, which is why people have been studying its structure for the past twenty years," he said. Previous attempts to recreate the structures of nacre have proved to be challenging, said Barthelat.
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