Protective clothing inspired by nature

An explanation of the auxetic material found in the inner layer of a mussel shell and how it absorbs impact by becoming denser when stretched.

An explanation of the auxetic material found in the inner layer of a mussel shell and how it absorbs impact by becoming denser when stretched. At Sheffield Hallam University, engineers are designing new materials with auxetic properties. They have a lot of potential for protective sports equipment and in medicine, for example to protect someone with a hip injury. Auxetic structures are also being tested to use in architecture, reating structures that can be installed in an instant in disaster relief areas. Scientist and presenter Fran Scott shows how a card model can be created to illustrate the properties of the material.

Teacher Notes

This clip could be used with GCSE product design students to focus their idea development on specific user groups. Prompt them to research widely when choosing materials and illustrate the testing of material properties.

Curriculum Notes

This topic appears in AQA, OCR A, EDEXCEL, EDUQAS, WJEC GCSE in England and Wales, and CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 5 in Scotland.