A high fidelity rubber mould of hadrosaurid dinosaur teeth and a gold coated replica to measure the roughness of the tooth surfaces, which will help discover what kind of food they ate 67 million years ago.
Researchers from the University of Leicester have discovered which rubber is best when it comes to reproduction.
Studies found more fluid formulations have greater reliability than rubbers which are thick and sticky.
“Roughness is something that everyone understands, and the difference between a rough and a smooth surface is obvious, but how do you compare two rough surfaces? How can you tell if surfaces – of the cylinders in your car engine, for example - are smooth enough to perform as they should?” asked Professor Mark Purnell, from the University of Leicester’s Department of Geology.
“If you need to make precise measurements of a surface, and you can’t take the original surface to the measuring instrument, you would need to analyse a replica. What we haven’t known until now is whether the quality of the replica varies depending on the rubber used.”
The study involved making multiple copies of a rough and smooth surface using different rubber compounds, which were then mixed and poured onto a surface until they solidified.
The measurements taken were then analysed and compared with each other and with the original surface.
The results, published in Scientific Reports, revealed that high viscosity rubber compounds which pour as thick liquids make replicas that are less similar and less desirable when compared with the original surface.
Robert Goodall, lead author of the paper, said: “If you want good results – with all the ridges and bumps on a surface reproduced at the same scale as the original - you need to use the right rubber for the job.”