Thursday, February 2, 2017

How do biological systems give us clues/tools that we can use to build better human systems?

In our lab, we decided to use a sponge. The sponge can act as moss, soil, leaves, etc. in nature. The sponge acted as an absorbent that collected water, similar to the things listed above that collects rain water. However, once the sponge reaches it's peak of taking in water, the water is no longer able to absorbed. This can be compared to the soil in nature. When soil is too damp and reaches it's capacity to hold water, a flood occurs. 

Despite the setbacks of limiting absorption of the sponge, sponges can still be a tool to people. For example, there is an experiment that is being done with a new "sponge-tool," where if a soldier has an open wound with intense bleeding, another soldier will be able to administer a capsule sponge. This will expand upon contact with the blood. Thus, stopping or significantly slowing down blood loss. This "sponge-tool" can save many lives on the battlefield. 

If we discuss adhesion, the water molecules stick to the sponge causing the sponge to expand. Water molecules are absorbed through the holes in the sponge, which later pushes the sponge's inner walls to inflate. Mass flow can be used to explain this simple experiment because every water molecule becomes intertwined with the water sponge molecules. We also observed that the sponge was floating above the water before it absorbed the water, so the hydrogen bonds were strong until they broke due to the sponge entering the water surface. This arises among polar molecules or among polar regions of molecules, though they relatively weak but strong when there are a lot together. These hydrogen bonds are temporary and easily broken, and this was seen when the sponge was placed into the water.

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