Posted tagged ‘Limpet teeth’

Hard Nuts

November 24, 2015

Scientists have discovered nature’s newest, strongest material. In their own version of Top of the Pops, a new entry  has came right in at number one. The previous strongest material was spider silk but the web constructor has been brushed off by a sea snail.

Take a bow… the mighty Limpet.

Microscopic Limpet teeth


Researchers announced that the teeth of shelled, aquatic creatures called limpets are the strongest biological material on Earth. The teeth, which are so small they must be examined with a microscope, are composed of very thin, tightly-packed fibres containing a hard mineral called goethite. Limpets use them to scrape food off of rocks. It is hoped that technology will be able to use the teeth for human purposes.

Their secret is in the size of their fibres, which are 1/100th the diameter of a human hair. The ultra-thin filaments avoid the holes and defects that plague larger strands — including man-made carbon fibres — meaning any structure they compose is also flawless, regardless of how big it gets.

So the future is Limpet farming. This aquatic husbandry will not be without its dangers. Think of the Jaws theme as the farmers become dentists and pull the molars out the limpets. The snails might be sluggish but they’d sure pack a punch. Could be a molluscacre. The little Leviathan would make mincemeat out of their pliers and drills.

There are still some man-made structures that are as strong as limpets. The little sachets of sauce in cafes are well nigh impregnable. Tiny nondescript packages filled with condimental delight. This artificial man o’ war loves having a tug of war with invaders. It just won’t open. A Tibetan monk would run out of patience trying to break the seal.
******* ****, oh well, there goes the vow of silence.

Brute force is sometimes not the answer and I have tried to be more subtle by gently attempting to tear the seal. Come on now, there’s a good boy. When this humanist approach fails I fall to my feet and beg the sachet to open.

A Limpet teeth penknife is the nuclear submarine option though that would also cut the table in two.