Whale beards. / Wikimedia Commons Although little studied, it is known that whale beards are made of a strong and flexible material. It was popular to use in corsets from the 11th century to the 20th century and has been used in native Alaskan basket weaving. Now, a study published in Advanced Materials states that these teeth can resist sn fracture a lifetime, which can last 100 years, of forces generated by the flow of water and prey. The finding opens a path to develop advanced engineering materials, say the authors. The research, led by Wang Bin of the Shenzhen Advanced Technology Institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, showed that the nanoscale structure of the intermediate filaments and mineral crystals of the beard, embedded in an amorphous matrix, increases its stiffness and resistance. These beards consist of a series of parallel plates suspended from the palate to both sides of the mouth that allow efficient feeding in large quantities of small zooplankton. This filtering mechanism has allowed the mystatus to evolve into the largest living creatures on earth. They are formed mainly of keratin mineralized material. Humpback blade. / WikipediaNew materials for the marine environmentIn addition, they found that microscale tubular lamellae controlled the direction of crack propagation in the event of a fracture. "In the longitudinal direction, cracks easily propagate, leading to delamination, wear and formation of desirable bristles, necessary for filtering action," said Marc A. Meyers of the University of California at San Diego. "In the transverse direction, the propagation of cracks is resisted by the tubular structure, providing the required resistance to the flow of water and the impact of the dam," he adds. The quasi-static and dynamic experiments showed a ductile to brittle transition, with an increase in the stress rate in the dry condition but absent in the hydrated condition. The related analysis that incorporates the water plasticizing effect and the reinforcement of the deformation rate provided new information on the behavior of the beards under competitive factors of hydration and dynamic loading, which is a key consideration for the design of new materials of engineering for the marine environment. For Wang, it is "amazing and exciting" to study this mechanism, and the new findings could help achieve the "ultimate goal" of developing materials designed for the marine environment. Beatriz de Vera This news has been published originally in N + 1, science that adds. About N + 1: It is the first online journal of scientific and technological dissemination that allows the total or partial reproduction of its contents by means of communication, bloggers and influencers, making the mention of the text and the link to the web: "This news has been originally published in the magazine N + 1, science that adds: www.nmas1.org ". .