Marine Snails Have The Strongest Teeth In The World

Samuel Reason | June 13th, 2018

When it comes to strong natural materials, you may think of diamonds or gold. Maybe if you are a scientist then you may think of the amazing spider silk from their webs, but you would all still be wrong. In fact, the answer may come as a big surprise: marine snail teeth are the strongest material in the world.

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If you give it a little thought it does kind of make sense, they clamp down onto rocks all day and actually use their teeth to dig into the rock. They are able to clamp down with an astonishing force of 75 pounds using their feet and a secret chemical they produce. Even if you are not amazed by their skill of grinding down rocks as they eat, then you may want to learn about their tongue which is actually also studded with teeth. It is called the radula. And it is the strongest natural material ever found on Earth.

Spider silk is often talked about being stronger than kevlar as it stays so tough while being flexible. But now after some engineers who tested snail teeth and spider silk, we know that the teeth are the winners. In fact, marine snail teeth are about five times tougher, making it the strongest natural material in the world.

The engineers in the UK tested the marine snail teeth in their labs and found that it did not break even under the pressure that turns carbon into diamonds. If you want an example to compare this with, it would be like asking a single strand of spaghetti to hold up over three thousand pounds of sugar!

The scientists discovered that their teeth are made by nanofibers that contain goethite which is a crystal with an iron mineral base. However, even with their super tough capabilities it still did not compare to man-made materials like graphene.

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