Here’s a question. What’s the earth’s strongest biological material? If you answered ‘spider silk’ you are not alone. Until recently that was considered an accurate answer, not any more! Now the teeth of the humble limpet are being heralded as nature’s super strong material that surpasses any other for pound for pound strength. Most people don’t even realise limpets have teeth, they appear to have a sucker underneath, if you have ever been able to scrape them off a rock to see.
Professor Asa Barber, with a team from the University of Portsmouth, has spent 10 years studying the teeth. He has recently completed calculations that show that a strand of limpet material, known as Goethite, the diameter of a piece of spaghetti, can bear the weight of a hippopotamus. He is now hoping to recreate the structure of the limpets teeth to try to develop an ultra strong, lightweight, synthetic material with all it’s possibilities.