Squid Teeth Could One Day Help Repair Your Ripped Clothing

The ties that bind

Calamari isn’t the only thing squids are good for.

In a paper published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, researchers announced that they had developed a coating for textiles that would allow rips and tears to be quickly and easily repaired with just a little bit of water, thanks to a coating derived from squid ring teeth.

Squid ring teeth aren’t actually used to eat–they’re the small sharp teeth found along the suction cups on a squid’s tentacles. Proteins extracted from the squid teeth were used to help create a coating for fabrics that helps bind together ripped pieces of clothing when a little bit of water and pressure are applied. In the video above, you can watch as the coating binds together both wool and cotton. Previously the squid teeth coating has been used to bind pieces of plastic together.

The coating is more stable in different environmental conditions (even hot and dry weather) than some of its predecessors. Other research in this field involves E. coli-based living materials, and materials that can plug holes in themselves within seconds.

In addition to repairing your ripped jeans, the new coating could prove very valuable if used to help repair smart fabrics, like the Second Skins currently in development, designed to protect soldiers on the battlefield from chemical and biological weapons.