Scientists often look to nature for inspiration in the search for ways to make new materials. A new study of the clamworm, an intertidal creature, shows that it has jaws made partly of zinc, making them strong, stiff and tough –– fundamental properties by which all materials are evaluated.
The properties of the clamworm jaws are described in this week´s online publication of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS). The research began with questions by scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Argonne National Laboratory, and evolved into an international project involving scientists from Austria and Finland.
"Zinc zips together proteins in a way that hardens the material," said Galen D. Stucky, a materials chemist and professor in UCSB´s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He noted that the study of how nature makes hard materials, their structure and function, may eventually yield information on how scientists can make lightweight, flexible materials ranging from more durable tires to protective coatings.
Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
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Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
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In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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