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Synthetic abalone shell. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a section through a synthetic material based on abalone (Haliotis sp.) shell. The material is composed of layers of overlapping platelets of calcium carbonate crystals, or aragonite, (grey). Between the layers are thin sheets of protein (not seen). This structure makes it much stronger than the materials would be in any other arrangement. This synthetic material could be used for body armour. Abalones are edible molluscs found in warm seas. For an SEM of abalone shell see Z457/187. Magnification: x9150 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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