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Protein's Strength Lies in H-bond Cooperation

February 14, 2008

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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. Full Story

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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