Infinitely Sharp Materials

Mind equals blown.  Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, led by physics professor Pupa Gilbert, are modeling the behavior of sea urchin teeth to test self-sharpening materials for things like knives and um, knives.

The secret is how the teeth are constructed: layers of calcite biocrystals held together with calcite nanocement are interspersed with softer layers of organic material, and when the teeth start to get dull on the surface, the top organic layer flakes off, exposing a brand new and freshly sharp layer of calcite. Chew, flake, repeat, and you’ve got infinitely sharp teeth.

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