Scientists use protein found in squid teeth to create self-healing fabric

By Shawn Knight · 10 replies
Aug 12, 2016
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  1. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have developed a special coating that enables torn fabric to heal itself when subjected to water. The secret behind this bit of wizardry isn’t glue or some other adhesive but rather, squid teeth.

    As Popular Science explains, scientists discovered that squid ring teeth – the tiny teeth found along the suction cups on a squid’s tentacles – contain a protein that, when made into a liquid form using yeast and bacteria, can help fabrics like cotton and wool repair itself. All that’s needed is a little bit of water and light pressure applied for about a minute.

    It’s not a perfect mend as the seam lines are still visible but it’s easy to envision how useful this could be in real-world applications.

    Penn State Professor Melik C. Demirel, who led the research, said there are a couple of different practical ways it could be used. Textile manufacturers could coat already-made fabric with the special liquid to create a self-healing garment. Best yet, fiber that hasn’t yet been processed could be infused with the protein which would give the resulting material the ability to self-heal automatically.

    Squid, of course, are only available in limited quantities meaning the scientists will need to figure out how to replicate the protein in the lab.

    When you think about it, the answers to some of today’s most common problems are often found in nature – you just need to know where to look.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Squid have teeth? Clearly they do, but until now I thought all they had was a beak they ripped their prey to pieces with.
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    I don't think that squids really use them as teeth. I'm guessing that they call them teeth because that's what they look like or something. Really, I think these "teeth" are for helping them to grip on to a surface.
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    Go forth...and be horrified. [​IMG]
  5. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,285   +242

    What's the catch with the self-healing fabric made from squid? do they make the 'rejuvinated' fabric black? ;)

    is the picture shown a squid? I think it is a dectopus (a 10-armed octopus? ;) ) created by the asylum movie production for their movie 'attack of the 10-armed octopodes'
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    I'm no marine biologist and far from being very knowledgeable about marine life but I thought they'd use their tentacles to grip things, maybe you're right.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
    stewi0001 likes this.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,008   +2,532

    Will this "squid healing syrup", make you clothes smell like dead fish?

    And now. specially selected squid readings from Wikipedia:

    In 1978, sharp, curved claws on the suction cups of squid tentacles cut up the rubber coating on the hull of the USS Stein. The size suggested the largest squid known at the time (Other entities call them claws, not "teeth")

    She, (USS Stein), is noteworthy as a U.S. Navy vessel that has apparently been attacked by an unknown species of giant squid. In 1978, the "NOFOUL" rubber coating of her AN/SQS-26 sonar dome was damaged by multiple cuts over 8 percent of the dome surface. Nearly all of the cuts contained remnants of sharp, curved claws found on the rims of suction cups of some squid tentacles. The claws were much larger than those of any squid that had been discovered at that time.[3]

    Penis elongation has been observed in the deep-water species Onykia ingens; when erect, the penis may be as long as the mantle, head, and arms combined.[5][6] As such, deep-water squid have the greatest known penis length relative to body size of all mobile animals, second in the entire animal kingdom only to certain sessile barnacles. (Now that's "walking tall").
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2017
  8. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,285   +242

    thanks for that post but I am still wondering how the captain hopped from the subject squid's teeth to something that is not a teeth... :p
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,008   +2,532

    Well, because the original article miss identifies a squid's tentacle claws as "teeth".

    As Popular Science explains, scientists discovered that squid ring teeth – the tiny teeth found along the suction cups on a squid’s tentacles

    They're not "teeth" in the sense the term is normally used, as in, "something animals use to chew their food while it's being put into their mouth. They may be identified as "teeth" in an alternate colloquial sense, but they're not "teeth" in a practical usage sense.

    Wiki calls them "claws", but that was in association with a giant squid. So then maybe, "size matters", after all?
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,727   +3,700

    So it isn't actually self-healing, if you still have to do patchwork!
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,008   +2,532

    The only truly practical application I could come up with for this, was as a healing factor built into a space suit. However, it's anybody's guess, as to whether or not, these chemical reactions are going to happen at the temperatures encountered on a space walk.

    Which brings us back to, I think it's wonderful that you can drag in a paycheck for coming up with something like this but............,

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