Brown University engineers Haneesh Kesari and Michael Monn have been studying sea sponges in order to understand how these fairly simple creatures can maintain their shape at the bottom of the ocean, despite the fact that they are subject to the constant stress of underwater waves and tidal forces. The findings of their research, published in the journal Scientific Reports showed that tiny structural rods in the sponges’ bodies have evolved the optimal shape to avoid buckling under pressure. According to the researchers, this shape could provide a blueprint for increasing the buckling resistance in all kinds of slender human-made structures, from building columns to bicycle spokes to arterial stents, as buckling is the primary mode of failure for slender structures.
In the last twenty years, China’s urban population has more than doubled and aggressive development in the cities was necessary in order to host more people. However, the massive urbanization resulted in thousands of historic sites and buildings being destroyed, to make way for roads and reservoirs. But gradually, instead of demolishing these structures, the practice of relocation began to gain ground, and nowadays it is a common procedure in the Asian country, with a whole industry behind it. The buildings are either disassembled from roof tile to foundation and rebuilt in a new position, or moved to it on rails.