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posted by n1 on Friday February 20 2015, @07:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the bioinspiration dept.

El Reg reports:

Limpets – a type of aquatic snail – [...]need high strength teeth to scrape algae off rocks. [...] Scientists used atomic force microscopy to pull the teeth apart at the atom level. They found the teeth contain a hard mineral known as goethite, which forms in the limpet as it grows.

[...]Professor Asa Barber from [Portsmouth] University's School of Engineering said: "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 but now we have discovered that limpet teeth exhibit a strength that is potentially higher."

The research also discovered that limpet teeth are the same strength no matter what the size. Usually, the bigger a structure, the more prone it is to flaws. Limpet teeth break this rule, as their strength is the same no matter what the size.

These structures could be mimicked and used in high-performance engineering applications such as Formula 1 racing cars, the hulls of boats, and aircraft structures.

[...]The research was published [February 18] in the Royal Society Journal Interface.[1]

[1] That may hold the record for the most scripts on a page with just 38kB of content.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 20 2015, @11:03PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 20 2015, @11:03PM (#147642)

    i've heard that steel is pretty strong. let's build a plane out of steel, cos everyone knows that strength is the only criteria for material selection

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 21 2015, @05:01AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 21 2015, @05:01AM (#147691)
    • (Score: 2) by fnj on Sunday February 22 2015, @12:27AM

      by fnj (1654) on Sunday February 22 2015, @12:27AM (#147929)

      On the other end of the scale, the use of cheap AISI 4130 chrome-moly steel tubing in airplane fuselages dates back to the 1920s and before. This was a welded truss built up of tubes, with doped fabric covering (more recently, often fiberglass or carbon fiber composite). Despite the "chrome", this material is not stainless; it contains only about 1% chrome, 1/5% molybdenum and 1/2% manganese. It is very readily welded and possesses outstanding strength.