The structure of E. aspergillum resembles a delicate glass vase in the form of a thin-walled, cylindrical tube with a large central atrium. The structural makeup of the Venus flower basket sponge could lead to advanced designs for structures around the world. Its unique shape and build helps it respond to the forces of air and water. The sponge’s structure contributes to reduced drag, but also facilitates the creation of low-velocity swirls within the body cavity. It’s predicted the design could be used for mechanical engineering and even for airplanes. The remarkable structural properties of the Venus’ flower basket sponge ( E. aspergillum ) might seem fathoms removed from human-engineered structures. However, insights into how the organism’s latticework of holes and ridges influences the hydrodynamics of seawater in its vicinity could lead to advanced designs for buildings, bridges, marine vehicles, and aircraft. While past research has investigated the structure of the sponge, there have been few studies of the hydrodynamic fields surrounding and penetrating the organism, and whether, besides improving its mechanical properties, the skeletal motifs of E. aspergillum underlie the optimization of the flow physics within and beyond its body cavity. Maurizio Porfiri of the New York University […]

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