February 18, 2015 | David

Spider silk may be the stuff of superpowers, but the humble limpet has just surprised a team of UK engineers. The teeth of limpets are the strongest natural material found yet, beating spider silk.

Limpets scrape food off the surface of rocks, so they need tough teeth. The engineers plan to study the tooth structure and apply the knowledge to strengthen synthetic materials such as carbon fibre. I think it's great that scientists and engineers can learn so much from nature.

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Limpet

The material in limpets' teeth is made from lots of extremely thin mineral threads.

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Image: Flickr/Ken-ichi Ueda

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