A bacterial powder for quickly stabilizing gravel surfaces

EPFL's Laboratory of Soil Mechanics has developed an easily reproducible technique using bacteria and urea to reinforce sandy or gravelly terrain. A series of chemical reactions lead to the rapid formation of mineral crystals ...

Calcite tuned to be mollusk-tough

No self-respecting construction engineer would ever choose pure calcite – a weak, brittle mineral found in chalk – as a building material.

Did the Vikings use crystal 'sunstones' to discover America?

Ancient records tell us that the intrepid Viking seafarers who discovered Iceland, Greenland and eventually North America navigated using landmarks, birds and whales, and little else. There's little doubt that Viking sailors ...

Researchers: We may have found a fabled sunstone (Update)

A rough, whitish block recovered from an Elizabethan shipwreck may be a sunstone, the fabled crystal believed by some to have helped Vikings and other medieval seafarers navigate the high seas, researchers say.

X-rays reveal why sea urchins are no easy prey

(PhysOrg.com) -- The spine of a sea urchin is 99.9% chalk, a very common material forming tiny crystals that are very hard but easy to break apart. Scientists have now discovered how these marine animals use chalk or lime ...

Viking 'sunstone' more than a myth

Ancient tales of Norse mariners using mysterious sunstones to navigate the ocean when clouds obscured the Sun and stars are more than just legend, according to a study published Wednesday.

Crystal clear research

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have successfully created synthetic crystals whose structures and properties mimic those of naturally occurring biominerals such as seashells.

Physicists scale up invisibility cloaks using natural crystals

(PhysOrg.com) -- Physicists from the University of Birmingham, with colleagues at Imperial College, London, and Technical University of Denmark, have demonstrated an 'invisibility cloak' that can hide a three-dimensional ...

Ever-sharp urchin teeth may yield tools that never need honing

(PhysOrg.com) -- To survive in a tumultuous environment, sea urchins literally eat through stone, using their teeth to carve out nooks where the spiny creatures hide from predators and protect themselves from the crashing ...

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