Sunday, 29 January 2012

So this sums up the thoughts and research that I have done about the rhino horn.

The rhinoceros horn is a unique composite that is made up primarily of keratin. -Keratin
molecules form two-strand molecules that are arranged to form intermediate laments (IFs).
These IFs surround a hair-like core that is generated from the nasal bone of the rhinoceros.
The lament density of rhinoceros horn is 7 mm2
and the average lament diameter is 100
m. Melanin and calcium are the two primary non-keratinous components of the rhinoceros
horn: melanin makes the horn more resistant to UV radiation while calcium makes it more
resistant to physical wear. The concentration of these two substances is higher in the center
of the horn and consequently the horn has a pointed structure. Water content also has a
large e ect on the behaviour of the horn: it has a proportional relationship to the elastic and
shear moduli of the horn. In their habitats, rhinoceroses use their horns to spar, dig for
water, and guide their o spring. Therefore the horn must be tough while resisting fracture.
It has a work of fracture of approximately 10 kJm2
. The values for many other mechanical
properties of the horn are unknown due to the di culty of obtaining the necessary samples.
Finally, rhinoceros horn research may lead to innovation within the eld of composites,
including internal-assembly processes and self-healing mechanisms.

1 comment:

  1. Rhino transport: