Lamella (materials)

A lamella (plural lamellae) is a small plate or flake, from the Latin, and may also be used to refer to collections of fine sheets of material held adjacent to one another, in a gill-shaped structure, often with fluid in between though sometimes simply a set of 'welded' plates. The term is used in biological and engineering contexts, such as filters and heat exchangers. The microscopic structures in bone and nacre are lamellae in the materials science sense of the word.

For the type of armor, see Lamellar armour.

Uses of the term

In surface chemistry (especially mineralogy and materials science), lamellar structures are fine layers, alternating between different materials. They can be produced by chemical effects (as in eutectic solidification), biological means, or a deliberate process of lamination, such as pattern welding. Lamellae can also describe the layers of atoms in the crystal lattice of a material such as a metal.

The term has been used to describe the construction of lamellar armour, as well as the layered structures that can be described by a lamellar vector field.

In a water-treatment context, lamellar filters may be referred to as plate filters or tube filters.

This term is used to describe a certain type of ichthyosis, a congenital skin condition. Lamellar Ichthyosis often presents with a "colloidal" membrane at birth. It is characterized by generalized dark scaling.

The term lamella(e) is used in the flooring industry to describe the finished top-layer of an engineered wooden floor. For example, an engineered walnut floor will have several layers of wood and a top walnut lamella.

In archaeology the term is used for a variety of small flat and thin objects, such as Amulet MS 5236, a very thin gold plate with a stamped text from Ancient Greece in the 6th century BC.

In textiles, lamella is thin metallic strip used alone or wound around a core thread for goldwork embroidery and tapestry weaving.[1]

In September 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of two medications which contained "extremely thin glass flakes (lamellae) that are barely visible in most cases. The lamellae result from the interaction of the formulation with glass vials over the shelf life of the product."[2]


  1. Schoeser, Mary (2007). Silk. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 248. ISBN 9780300117417. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. Amgen Initiates Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Certain Lots Of Epogen And Procrit (Epoetin Alfa)

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