Home Uncategorized Scientists discover the strongest known natural material in the world

Scientists discover the strongest known natural material in the world

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Move over, spider silk, there’s a new super-material in town.  As we know Spider Silk has the tensile strength of a high-grade steel alloy, and about half that of the synthetic woven material, Kevlar.
It also has just a sixth of the density of steel, which means you could
take a strand that’s long enough to wrap around the whole Earth, and it’d weigh less than 500 grams. This quality means that spider silk would be five times as strong as the same weight of steel.

And
while we can’t take away from its incredible properties, we just might
have to take away its title of ‘strongest natural material’, because
researchers have figured out just how strong the teeth of limpets, a type of marine snail, are.
“Until now, we thought that spider silk was the strongest biological
material because of its super-strength and potential applications in
everything from bullet-proof vests to computer electronics,” lead author
Asa Barber, from the School of Engineering at Portsmouth University in
the UK, said in a press release. “But now we have discovered that limpet teeth exhibit a strength that is potentially higher.”
Barber’s
team made the discovery by examining the tiny teeth right down to their
atomic structure. Publishing in the Royal Society’s scientific journal, Interface, they report finding a super-hard, iron-bearing hydroxide mineral called goethite in the tooth structures. According to The Guardian,
the mineral forms in the limpet as it grows, and it helps the little
marine creature scrape over rock surfaces and peel algae away from them
for food.
And now that they’ve found it, the researchers think the
structure of the material could be copied and synthetically
manufactured to be used in making structures of cars, boats, and planes.

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“We
discovered that the fibres of goethite are just the right size to make
up a resilient composite structure. This discovery means that the
fibrous structures found in limpet teeth could be mimicked and used in
high-performance engineering applications such as Formula One racing
cars, the hulls of boats and aircraft structures,” Barber told The Guardian. “Engineers are always interested in making these structures stronger to
improve their performance or lighter so they use less material.”
Source: The Guardian

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