Many insects have an impressively strong bite when you consider the size of the bite, and in many cases there is more than “good muscles.”
That has become clear after analyzing ants, the leading insect of a new study published. in nature.
Ants’ jaws are shaped like a saw, and according to the study they have a structure that could go a long way toward creating new, stronger materials.
Materials scientist Arun Devaraj, who performed an atomic probe tomography, collaborated with the study to discover that ant teeth they have a uniform layer of zinc atoms. These atoms are uniquely attached to the chitin of the teeth, and are responsible for 20% of the weight of each tooth.
The fact is that the zinc layer is distributed in such a way, and integrated with the tooth with so much magic, that it offers greater hardness and a much more resistant edge.
If they didn’t have the layer of zinc atoms, they would have to exert 60% more effort to bite, a coating that some spiders and other arachnids also have (although sometimes instead of zinc it is manganese).
This discovery allows us to imagine how the materials of the futureSince with metal nanolayers coating any surface, we could obtain better results than creating solid metal objects.
Researchers comment that in this way it is possible from creating heavy tools to improving the quality of nuclear power plant reactors.