Extreme strength observed in limpet teeth

Barber, Asa H. and Lu, Dun and Pugno, Nicola M. (2015) Extreme strength observed in limpet teeth. In «Journal of the Royal Society Interface», United Kingdom : Royal Society Publishing.

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    The teeth of limpets exploit distinctive composite nanostructures consisting of high volume fractions of reinforcing goethite nanofibres within a softer protein phase to provide mechanical integrity when rasping over rock surfaces during feeding. The tensile strength of discrete volumes of limpet tooth material measured using in situ atomic force microscopy was found to range from 3.0 to 6.5 GPa and was independent of sample size. These observations highlight an absolute material tensile strength that is the highest recorded for a biological material, outperforming the high strength of spider silk currently considered to be the strongest natural material, and approaching values comparable to those of the strongest man-made fibres. This considerable tensile strength of limpet teeth is attributed to a high mineral volume fraction of reinforcing goethite nanofibres with diameters below a defect-controlled critical size, suggesting that natural design in limpet teeth is optimized towards theoretical strength limits.

    Item Type: Article in journal
    FP7 Grant Agreement Number: European Research Council/StG Ideas 2011 - BIHSNAM/EU/FP7/279985, European Research Council/PoC 2013-I - REPLICA2/EU/FP7/619448, European Research Council/PoC 2013-I - KNOTOUGH/EU/FP7/632277, Graphene FET Flagship/EC/FP7/604391
    Department or Research center: Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering
    Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General) > TA164 Bioengineering
    T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General) > TA630 Structural Engineering
    Uncontrolled Keywords: mechanics, nanoscale, mineralized tissue
    Repository staff approval on: 25 Feb 2015 15:35

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