Super Jaws

Scientists look to worm jaws, tougher than human teeth, for the next class of super-strong aerospace and construction material

Marine Worms

Matthias Jacob Schleiden (painting, public domain)

It's well known that scientists commonly look to nature to create super-strong materials. Diamond powder, for instance, is used for oil drills and road machinery, and soon spider silk could be use in bullet-proof vests.

Recently, researchers have turned their attention to the fang-like jaws of marine worms, which they believe could lead to a new cutting-edge, lightweight material so strong that it could be used for construction and as repair material for spacecraft and airplanes.

Known as sandworms or ragworms and found in the North Atlantic, the little critters have jaws and long pincers that are stronger than human teeth and synthetic plastics. The scientists from California and New Hampshire who are heading the research have yet to fully investigate the chemical composition of the worm's jaw structures, but they have already found a unique type of protein after analyzing approximately 1,000 worms. It just goes to show that in nature, there's always something new to unearth.

[Via PhysOrg]