Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sea Urchins Calcite Spine

The precise structure of sea urchins' strong spines has been unraveled - and the find may contribute to stronger concrete in the future.

The tough spines are known to be made of calcium carbonate, which has a number of naturally occurring forms, some more brittle than others.

X-ray studies now show they are built from "bricks" of the crystal Calcite, with a non-crystalline "mortar".