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August 3, 2021

Glass House* (Undersea Version)


In deep ocean water the glass sponge Euplectella, or Venus flower basket, creates a tubelike skeleton (above and below) up to a foot long, with seven hierarchical structural levels, out of glass (silica), calcium carbonate, and calcium phosphate.

John D. Currey, a biologist at the University of York in England, analyzed the structure and found "a skeleton of extraordinary structural and mechanical refinement," noted a story which appeared in the New York Times.


Back in 2005 this exotic creature made the big time, appearing on the cover of the July 8 issue of Science magazine to highlight the research discussed by Currey.

In the cover photo (detail below)


a scanning electron micrograph of an etched sample of the mineral skeleton showed the laminated silica cement holding the glassy crossing fibers in place.

*Acolytes of Philip Johnson will appreciate that this natural wonder appeared many aeons before the architect's iconic 1948-49 Glass House.

August 3, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


Nature's own 3D printing, with an elaborate set of materials.

Posted by: Luke | Aug 4, 2021 9:07:53 AM

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