Coatings made from squid proteins may help develop next generation of clothes that could fix their own rips, a new study has claimed.
The coatings may not only lead to everyday self-healing clothes, but also help create garments that are tailored for protection against chemical and biological warfare agents and that can repair themselves.
Researchers, including those from the US Naval Research Laboratory, investigated molecules from the suction cups on squid tentacles for use in self-repairing films.
They focused on proteins from razor-sharp, tooth-like structures around the openings of these suction cups that help squid latch onto and take down prey.
Previous research suggested the proteins from these “squid ring teeth” are tough and elastic under both wet and dry conditions.
Researchers developed a coating that contained the squid ring-teeth proteins.
When a fabric covered in this coating is soaked in water, the proteins diffuse towards holes and tears in the coating, linking segments of coating and fabric together to make repairs, said study co-senior author Walter Dressick.
The researchers experimented with different types of cloth, applying the proteins to cotton, linen and wool sheets. They dipped the fabrics in the new coating and then cut holes in the cloth, ‘Live Science’ reported.
They then immersed these sheets in water and pressed patches made of the same coated fabrics against these holes,which successfully healed the damage.
“We were surprised at the rapidity of the healing process and the strength of the healed materials,” said Melik Demirel from Pennsylvania State University in the US.
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