Modest Mollusk May Sport World's Strongest Material
The limpet's hardy teeth may inspire new vehicular designs, experts say.
Nature's latest discovered supermaterial comes from a decidedly modest creature: A type of mollusk found on the rocky shores of western Europe.
The teeth of these marine animals, called limpets, might be the strongest natural material yet documented—even stronger than spider silk, the previous record holder, a new study says. (See "Artificial Spider Silk Could Be Used for Armor, More.")
The discovery may inspire performance engineers to create better and more robust vehicles—such as bicycles, boats, and race cars—in the not-so-distant future.
"It's about translating design principles found in limpets to form structures that are strong, yet light," says study leader Asa Barber, a professor of advanced materials engineering at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom.
Limpet teeth grow