Sunday, February 22, 2009

Squid and God

Discovery reports:

Jan. 23, 2009 -- The circular teeth squid use to snag and handle prey could lead to strong but lightweight, environmentally friendly composite materials, according to new research. [...]

The teeth get their strength from architecture. A series of tooth pores runs through the protein, and on the outer edge the pores are spaced widely for a hard, shape edge that digs into the flesh of hapless prey. Toward the base, the pores are closer together, making a softer material that can absorb the prey's thrashing without breaking. [...]

Such products would likely be environmentally friendly and relatively cheap to manufacture, since the reactions that produce squid teeth don't require exotic ingredients, harsh chemicals or temperature extremes.

Reproducing nature's proteins has proven difficult at best. Spider silk, which pound for pound is stronger than steel cable, has yet to be mass produced despite decades of work.

And what have we learned class? After noting that the best designs are those that are mimicked from nature (and the difficulty in copying that design) we must conclude that nobody makes it better than the Master.

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