Science

Gar-inspired gloves could guard against injury

Gar-inspired gloves could guar...
The scales of an alligator gar
The scales of an alligator gar
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A sample of the gar-inspired protective coating
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A sample of the gar-inspired protective coating
The scales of an alligator gar
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The scales of an alligator gar

The alligator gar is a pretty fearsome predator, but it may actually end up helping to keep people from getting hurt. Led by Francois Barthelat, scientists at Montreal's McGill University have developed a protective ceramic coating for work gloves, inspired by the fish's scales.

Over a five-year period of studying fish scales (particularly those of the gar), the researchers were able to identify a set of critical mechanisms in the way those scales deform, slide against one another, and fracture. Among other things, they learned that fish scales are the toughest collagen-based material known, and that small scales are actually harder to pierce than larger ones.

A sample of the gar-inspired protective coating
A sample of the gar-inspired protective coating

Using computer modelling techniques, they then set out to determine the optimal size, shape, arrangement and overlap of ceramic tiles needed to match that performance while remaining flexible. The resulting glove-protecting layer (a sample of which is seen above) is claimed to be far more resistant to piercing than an unadorned elastomer glove.

This certainly isn't the first example of scale-inspired armor that we've seen, as the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Northeastern University have also both developed materials.

A paper on the McGill research was recently published in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.

Source: McGill University

1 comment
Jayepea
Their scales are not like the scales of other fishes; rather, they are ganoid scales which are bone-like, diamond-shaped scales, often with serrated edges, and covered by an enamel-like substance. Ganoid scales are nearly impenetrable and are excellent protection against predation.