Microstructure and orientation distribution of aragonite crystals in nacreous layer of pearl shells

Kyosuke Yoshimi, Mayumi Shoji, Tomohisa Ogawa, Akira Yamauchi, Takako Naganuma, Koji Muramoto, Shuji Hanada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The microstructure and orientation distribution of aragonite crystals in the nacreous layer of cultured Pteria penguin are investigated in this paper. Helical patterns formed by growth forefronts of the nacreous layer for good-quality shells are observed using a laser microscope, whereas no clear pattern is observed on the nacreous layer surfaces of bad-quality shells. The observed aragonite crystals are plate-shaped and hexagonal for both the good and bad-quality shells, in which the top and bottom faces are parallel to the (001) plane and the side faces are parallel to the {110} and (010) planes. The aragonite crystals in the nacreous layer of good-quality shells seem to be harmonically oriented along a crystallographic direction. These orientation distributions basically indicate that the (001) basal planes are parallel to the inner shell surface, and the [100] and [010] axes are oriented in almost the same direction, respectively. Some of the aragonite crystals are rotated about the c axis by approximately ±60° from the basic orientation distribution. On the other hand, the aragonite crystals of bad-quality shells seem to be randomly oriented in the nacreous layer. These orientation distributions indicate that the (001) basal planes are parallel to the inner shell surface in a similar manner as those of good-quality shells, but their [1001 and [010] axes are randomly oriented about the c axis. Therefore, it is considered that such different orientation distributions result in different qualities of pearls that are developed in the shells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1004
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Transactions
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Apr

Keywords

  • Aragonite
  • Biomineralization
  • Nacreous layer
  • Pearl
  • Texture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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