How Sponges Will Inspire Tall Structures

marine sponge inspires skyscraper construction

Ozgur Donmaz/Getty/Matheus Fernandes/Harvard SEAS

  • Sea sponges have inspired a new double lattice for construction.
  • Animal-inspired technology, especially from creatures that build and weave, is huge right now.
  • The sponge-inspired lattice resisted buckling longer than any other structure.

    The next generation of skyscrapers could be, well, spongey. Researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences say a lattice reinforced with diagonals, inspired by the structures built by sponges, could mean lighter, but stronger skyscrapers and bridges.

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    Sponges are wild. They’re not just alive—they’re resilient predators that reproduce sexually, despite having no organs or tissues or even a traditional “inside” of their body structures. In a way, they’re living structures already, and their sturdiness is what helps them survive.

    The researchers explain in their new

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