For years, spider silk was known as the strongest biological material, but a recent discovery has changed that. A new substance found in nature is five times stronger than spider silk: limpet teeth.
Limpets are aquatic snails with extremely strong teeth. They need strong teeth to hang on rocks along the seashore. They also use their teeth to scrape algae off of these rocks for food. But until recently the strength of their teeth was a mystery.
Researchers at the University of Partsmouth School of Engineering found that limpet teeth contain
. Geothite is an iron-filled mineral produced by the snail as it grows. Limpet teeth are 100 times thinner than the diameter of a human hair, but looks can deceive. According to lead author of the study Asa Barber, a single tooth can withstand so much tension, that it is analogous to a strand of spaghetti holding up a car.
According to Barber, limpets teeth could be duplicated and used for a range of applications such as structures of race cars, hulls of boats, and other devices, for example.
Researchers and scientists alike are eager to continue studying the limpet teeth--they hope to find a multitude of uses for them!