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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Real glass that bends without breaking? Mollusk shell holds the key

By Amina Khan


Researchers have turned to nature and objects like seashells for inspiration in order to create glass that is 200 times tougher than normal


Revealing creation's secrets: How 'weaker' becomes stronger


JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Glass may be hard, but it's all too easy to break, as anyone who's seen a shattered window knows. But now scientists have discovered that they can make glass 200 times tougher than normal by making it "weaker" — using a laser to etch wavy micro-cracks into an otherwise solid surface.

The discovery, described last month in Nature Communications, borrows secrets from mollusk shells, which use very brittle, breakable materials to create some of nature's toughest structures.

Seashells lined with iridescent mother-of-pearl are more than just pretty — they're a remarkable feat of microengineering, said study co-author Francois Barthelat, a mechanical engineer at McGill University in Quebec, Canada. Animals with such shells somehow use brittle, crumbly chalk (known formally as calcium carbonate) to build armor that can protect them along unforgiving reefs and rocky shorelines.

"Nature is very good at making materials with wonderful microstructures — almost perfect structures," Barthelat said. "As engineers, it's very hard to duplicate."


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The secret is in the architecture of the nacre, the iridescent material lining the inner surface of certain mollusk shells. It's made of 95 percent chalk — hexagonal plates of calcium carbonate in a crystalline form called aragonite, and they interlock rather like Lego blocks. But the boundaries between these hard layers are much weaker, filled with soft, protein-rich material that can deform when energy passes into it. Thus, the brittle aragonite tablets don't shatter with every impact, because the supposed 'weak' layers dividing the hard tablets allow the shell to dissipate energy and stop cracks from propagating.


Barthelat and his colleagues wondered if they could learn the design secrets of mother-of-pearl and apply them to a famously brittle, breakable material: glass. Glass is hard but it isn't tough — its atoms are randomly organized, lacking any structure, and so it's very easy to shatter.

But Barthelat wasn't about to try to build a shell, brick by microscopic brick. Instead of trying to build with tiny pieces, the researchers pulled the more general design principles from what they saw in the seashell. They used a laser to engrave tooth-like squiggles into smooth glass, creating patterned cracks in its structure. Just as the nacre's "weak" protein-rich boundaries dissipated energy and kept the chalky structure from shattering, these curving cracks in the glass would divert and channel cracks in the brittle glass so it could not fracture any further.


The concept is similar to why stamp sheets are perforated: When you rip down a sheet — causing a "crack" in the paper — the little trails of holes guide the tear straight down the page.

Treating the glass this way — making it "weaker" — actually makes it 200 times tougher, the scientists found. The researchers also filled the cracks with polyurethane, but they say it's not even really a necessary ingredient.

The team used this bio-inspired method on the kinds of glass slides you put on samples under a microscope, but it should be able to scale up for, say, dinnerware, windowpanes and even car windshields — anywhere that shattering glass could present a dangerous prospect.

They're not the only ones looking to nature to build tougher or stronger materials: A team of researchers recently designed tiny structures that were based on the architecture inside bones.

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© 2014, Los Angeles Times Distributed by MCT Information Services



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