Tags: sea snail | teeth | strongest | material

Sea Snail Teeth Are Strongest Material, Topping Spider Silk

By    |   Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 06:32 PM

Spider silk, long considered the strongest material in the world, has been knocked out of that position and replaced by the teeth of sea snails, according to new research, and already, car designers are excited about the possibilities.

The teeth of limpets, a broad term used to refer to aquatic sea snails, were studied by the University of Portsmouth and the findings published Wednesday in the "Interface" of the Royal Society.

Engadget reported a potential to use the design of sea snail teeth as a basis for race cars and other engineering projects that require a good strength-to-weight ratio.

“This is just a study, so any production plans are a long way off. However, researchers believe it's possible to copy the fiber-like structures and produce composites that could be useful for human-sized products,” Engadget said. “Don't be surprised if one of your future cars or computers is that much lighter thanks to some rather unassuming sealife.”

The sea snail’s teeth consist of “very thin, tightly-packed fibers containing a hard mineral called goethite,” according to The Washington Post.

“This discovery means that the fibrous structures found in limpet teeth could be mimicked and used in high-performance engineering applications such as Formula 1 racing cars, the hulls of boats and aircraft structures,” said the study’s lead author Asa Barber in a university press release. “Engineers are always interested in making these structures stronger to improve their performance or lighter so they use less material.”

A unique property of the limpet teeth was that they maintained their strength no matter what size they were, Barber said.

"Generally a big structure has lots of flaws and can break more easily than a smaller structure, which has fewer flaws and is stronger," he explained. "The problem is that most structures have to be fairly big so they’re weaker than we would like. Limpet teeth break this rule as their strength is the same no matter what the size."

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Spider silk, long considered the strongest material in the world, has been knocked out of that position and replaced by the teeth of sea snails, according to new research, and already, car designers are excited about the possibilities.
sea snail, teeth, strongest, material
326
2015-32-19
Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 06:32 PM
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