Coherently aligned nanoparticles within a biogenic single crystal: A biological prestressing strategy

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Science  08 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6368, pp. 1294-1298
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaj2156

Many roads to being tough

A number of routes exist to increase toughness in both natural and human-made materials—for example, using secondary phases and precipitates or exploiting tailored architectures and shaped crystals. Polishchuk et al. detail the nanoscale internal structure of calcitic microlenses formed by a brittlestar (see the Perspective by Duffy). The segregation of magnesium-rich particles forms a secondary phase that places compressive stresses on the host matrix. This toughening mechanism resembles Guinier-Preston zones known in classical metallurgy.

Science, this issue p. 1294 see also p. 1254