Scientists are studying a Greek 2,500-year-old pottery because they believe its properties could help them design more effective heat tiles for spacecrafts.
Spacecraft ceramic tiles -like the ones in the above image of the space shuttle- have to be able to withstand a range of temperatures, from -120C in the vacuum of space to 1650C when re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
Scientists from the Getty Conservation Institute, Stanford’s National Accelerator Laboratory and the Aerospace Corporation,
have found that the ceramic pigments in Attic pottery can not only withstand extreme heat, but remain chemically stable.
Project leader Karen Trentalman said: ‘Something doesn’t need to be complex to be sophisticated. If we can understand the technology with which these works of art were made, we can use the knowledge for a surprisingly wide variety of applications.’