Piranha Resistant Fish Scales Lead to New Armor Research

Piranha Resistant Fish Scales Lead to New Armor Research

Fish living in piranha infested waters have developed scales to protect them from deadly bites and are now being used to develop new body armors.

As many evil villains will tell you, there is a lot of choice when deciding what to fill your hidden fish tank of death with. Piranhas are often overlooked in favor of sharks, but it's hard to see why when a swarm is known to rip flesh from the bone in minutes. It's easy to wonder if anything could stand a chance when placed in a tank with this predator. But now, scientists have found that a fish living alongside piranhas has scales tough enough to resist the fatal bites.

The freshwater fish is known as the Arapaima gigas, which lives in the Amazon River in Brazil, and is found in the same region of water famously known for being inhabited by swarms of piranha. Researchers found that the scales of the Arapaima gigas are capable of absorbing the impact of a piranha bite by flexing and twisting to spread the stress generated by the teeth. Furthermore, the scales are hard enough to cause the teeth to fracture leading scientists to believe the Arapaima rarely falls prey to the snappy predator.

The Arapaima gigas is the largest fish in South American rivers, and can be as long as six feet seven inches and weigh up to 220lbs. Dr. Robert Ritchie, head of material sciences at the University of California Berkeley, led the research and notes how this evolution was key to the Arapaima's survival. "Without such scales the Arapaima as a very large fish would be easy prey for piranhas." He goes on to note the unique qualities of its scales and how they are adapting its natural properties into their research. "The fish scale is designed ideally for armor, which has a hard external layer to resist penetration by a bullet and a flexible and tough inner layer to accommodate the excessive deformation without fracturing the armor. What we are trying to do is to create composite ceramics with the hard external layer and some flexible foundation to use as a shield or armor."

Previous experiments have shown that the scales can survive up to 12 gigapascals of pressure, or 1.7 million pounds per square inch. To put this figure into perspective, commercial diamonds are created using pressures of 18 gigapascals. This discovery may have the potential to lead to incredibly durable armor with the flexibility of a winter jacket.

Source: The Telegraph

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So there's a six-foot long, 200 pound fish with armored scales that can withstand piranha bites? That's just super comforting to know.

SecondPrize:
So there's a six-foot long, 200 pound fish with armored scales that can withstand piranha bites? That's just super comforting to know.

It's prey includes "fish, crustaceans, even small land animals that walk near the shore" and can reach 2 metres in length.

It is also delicious and has been hunted to below sustainable levels for commercial fishing.

SecondPrize:
So there's a six-foot long, 200 pound fish with armored scales that can withstand piranha bites? That's just super comforting to know.

If I was a fish in the ocean I think I would definetly want to be this one since it seems no predator can even hurt it except maybe just annoy it till the creature get's tired of breaking it's teeth on you haha.

Ed130:

SecondPrize:
So there's a six-foot long, 200 pound fish with armored scales that can withstand piranha bites? That's just super comforting to know.

It's prey includes "fish, crustaceans, even small land animals that walk near the shore" and can reach 2 metres in length.

It is also delicious and has been hunted to below sustainable levels for commercial fishing.

If it keeps adapting the way it's going soon even fishing for them would be to much of a pain in trying to crack the things open. Well I hope they don't eat them to extinction as we do with so many other creatures and screw up the whole ecosystem in marine life as always is the case... Also there are so many more thing we can learn from these creatures it be a waste to kill it off.

VanTesla:

SecondPrize:
So there's a six-foot long, 200 pound fish with armored scales that can withstand piranha bites? That's just super comforting to know.

If I was a fish in the ocean I think I would definetly want to be this one since it seems no predator can even hurt it except maybe just annoy it till the creature get's tired of breaking it's teeth on you haha.

Accept that this fish is a fresh water fish, so you would most likely die in salt water of the ocean. =p

finally, science does something useful!

Piranha attacks are the number one cause of airplane crashes.

true story.

and its sad that we may lose one of our best pools for discovery due greed.
i am looking at you, ikea.

iniudan:

VanTesla:

SecondPrize:
So there's a six-foot long, 200 pound fish with armored scales that can withstand piranha bites? That's just super comforting to know.

If I was a fish in the ocean I think I would definetly want to be this one since it seems no predator can even hurt it except maybe just annoy it till the creature get's tired of breaking it's teeth on you haha.

Accept that this fish is a fresh water fish, so you would most likely die in salt water of the ocean. =p

Whoops I guess I forgot that tidbit even though I just read the article... I won't change it just so I live with my mistake, but hey maybe it will adapt in a couple years just like many fish have in the past.

Ruley:
As many evil villains will tell you, there is a lot of choice when deciding what to fill your hidden fish tank of death with. Piranhas are often overlooked in favor of sharks, but it's hard to see why when a swarm is known to rip flesh from the bone in minutes. It's easy to wonder if anything could stand a chance when placed in a tank with this predator.

That's because all known Piranhas are actually meat eating scavengers or even vegetarians (in places where fruits fall from trees into rivers). They are not predators by nature.

Piranhas as they are depicted in the movies don't exist, Piranhas only risk eating living animals if they are starving to death or taught to by humans.

Piranhas are scared of things that move (except each other), a they would never risk attacking something as big as human.

Despite the misinformation about piranhas it's pretty neat to know we could skin this fish and wear it as a piece of armour. I guess the Nords were on to something with their dragon scale armour.

I don't know. The idea of new-age scale body armor sounds cool, but something about this research seems a bit fishy.

I've seen enough River Monsters to know that the Arapaima is not a fish to be screwed with. This article fails to mention that besides being invincible it is actually a living torpedo, using its solid bone skull to crush its target and killing it almost instantly O.O

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRfN_y64RZY

The ultimate fish defense is to taste terrible.

Woo. Now we need to make pirahna guns and this will have a use.

They sent a nuclear submarine to fight the piranhas, and one of them swims right down the periscope and bites the guy in the eye, and he goes, 'Aah! Aah! Aah!', and that old lady told him it would happen!

Wait, the flexibility of a winter jacket?

Won't that sorta go against the whole point?

I mean, what good does it do for armor to be super resistant, if it is also so flexible that bullets can just drive the armor INTO your skin?

bringer of illumination:
Wait, the flexibility of a winter jacket?

Won't that sorta go against the whole point?

I mean, what good does it do for armor to be super resistant, if it is also so flexible that bullets can just drive the armor INTO your skin?

Because underneath this new armour you wear a robotic suit of course!

Your skin and organs will be safe.

It's only a mater of time.

TiberiusEsuriens:
I've seen enough River Monsters to know that the Arapaima is not a fish to be screwed with. This article fails to mention that besides being invincible it is actually a living torpedo, using its solid bone skull to crush its target and killing it almost instantly O.O

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRfN_y64RZY

River Monsters is such a badass show.

Angelous Wang:

Ruley:
As many evil villains will tell you, there is a lot of choice when deciding what to fill your hidden fish tank of death with. Piranhas are often overlooked in favor of sharks, but it's hard to see why when a swarm is known to rip flesh from the bone in minutes. It's easy to wonder if anything could stand a chance when placed in a tank with this predator.

That's because all known Piranhas are actually meat eating scavengers or even vegetarians (in places where fruits fall from trees into rivers). They are not predators by nature.

Piranhas as they are depicted in the movies don't exist, Piranhas only risk eating living animals if they are starving to death or taught to by humans.

Piranhas are scared of things that move (except each other), a they would never risk attacking something as big as human.

I actually knew this in early elementary school when hiding from the teachers in the library and trying to find out information about the lake sturgeon (the one with the badass spikes on its back). Additionally this scene is easily one of my favourite demonstrations of piranha aggression.

For those of you with scientific interest/curiosity, here's a paper describing some work on armadillo, crocodile and arapima skin as armour.

Onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201202713/pdf

It's free, people! My gift to you is knowledge.

 

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