News From the Field
Protein's Strength Lies in H-bond Cooperation
February 14, 2008
Researchers in Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT reveal that the strength of a biological material, like spider silk, lie in the geometric configuration of structural proteins and the small clusters of weak hydrogen bonds that work cooperatively to resist force, and dissipate energy. This structure makes protein-based materials as strong as steel, even though the hydrogen bonds that hold them together are 100 to 1,000 times weaker than the metallic bonds in steel.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
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