Late-night TV ads aside, we know there’s currently no way to keep a knife sharp over time without spending some time sharpening. But a team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison thinks they may have found just such a beast in nature: urchin teeth.
Urchins, it seems, chew through rock for long periods of time, all without dulling their teeth. The UW team discovered that the urchin tooth is composed of both biological and mineral substances, allowing tiny bits to shear off as they dull, keeping the tooth itself pointy and effective. Needless to say, they see real-world application. Pupa Gilbert, the professor leading the UW team:
“Now that we know how it works, the knowledge could be used to develop methods to fabricate tools that could actually sharpen themselves with use. The mechanism used by the urchin is the key. By shaping the object appropriately and using the same strategy the urchin employs, a tool with a self-sharpening edge could, in theory, be created.”
For lots more detailed information, check out the link below.
(Photo courtesy of UWM News.)