Unavoidable vibrations, such as those on airplanes, cause rigid structures to age and crack, but researchers at the University of Michigan may have an answer for that—design them more like tooth enamel, which could lead to more resilient flight computers, for instance.
Most materials that effectively absorb vibration are soft, so they don't make good structural components such as beams, chassis or motherboards. For inspiration on how to make hard materials that survive repeated shocks, the researchers looked to nature.
"Artificial enamel is better than solid commercial and experimental materials that are aimed at the same vibration damping," said Nicholas Kotov, the Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Chemical Engineering. "It's lighter, more effective and, perhaps, less expensive."