The hooves of horses resist cracking by having braided filaments of keratin in horizontal sheets punctuated vertically by thin, hollow tubes.

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"Horse hooves are among the most crack-resistant substances in the natural world, about twenty times tougher than bone. As such, they may provide clues to researchers hoping to develop stronger materials for human use. Horse hooves, like human fingernails, are composed of cells housing braided filaments of keratin. From cell to cell, the braids run in the same direction. In hooves, these cells are glued together into horizontal sheets. The sheets are punctuated vertically with thin, hollow tubes, each of which is surrounded by several sleeves of cells. Although cracks may travel horizontally along the sheets, they are generally stopped by the tubes." (Courtesy of the Biomimicry Guild)

Journal article
Current challenges in traditional design verification and its application in flip-chip devicesIEEE/CPMT/SEMI 28th International Electronics Manufacturing Technology Symposium, 2003. IEMT 2003.May 6, 2004
I. Goldberger, S. Kasapi

Journal article
Micromechanics of the equine hoof wall: optimizing crack control and material stiffness through modulation of the properties of keratin.Journal of Experimental BiologyFebruary 1, 1999
Kasapi, MA; Gosline, JM

Journal article
Design complexity and fracture control in the equine hoof wallKasapi, MA; Gosline, JM

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