Many animals have overlapping scales like the scales of a fish.
The scales of a woodlouse, just like the fish, overlap and provide smooth and effective armour, at the same time allowing flexibility. The woodlouse rolls into a little ball for protection but unrolls and walks away when the threat has gone.
In textiles, sequins are the most common overlapping structures but there are lots of other ways we can create overlaps, such as pleating.
Biology can teach us how overlaps make bendable structures out of stiff materials.
Just like the woodlouse, the Pangolin has overlapping scales to protect itself against its predators, such as lions.
The pangolin’s dermal armour is composed of overlapping scales. This means that, even when the animal is rolled into its characteristic ball during attack, the entire surface of his body remains covered and protected.
Just like the woodlouse the pangolin can unroll and stretch out when the threat has gone and continue with its day.