Limpets Hold the World’s Strongest Biological Material in Their Teeth
by Owen James Burke
Nature’s strongest biological material ever tested, which was once spider silk, is now the tooth-laden radula, or tongue, of the limpet. Feeding on algae, the tiny mollusk uses its tongue to cling to and prowl rocky intertidal zones for algae. Its tongue is so strong that the process of gathering fare, it also scrapes off and swallows pieces of rock.
“The fibrous structures found in limpet teeth could be mimicked and used in high-performance engineering applications such as Formula 1 racing cars, the hulls of boats and aircraft structures,” wrote Dr. Asa Barber, leader of the research at the University of Portsmouth’s School of Engineering.