Researchers have discovered that the defensive slime exuded by hagfish may be a source of high-performance protein fibers that could replace petrochemical-based polymers, such as nylon and plastic fibers, and fabrics woven from them. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Peter Southwood)
I couldn't agree with you more, Nadine, about the name "fish slime". It's pretty gross. William, for industrial production levels the proteins would eventually be created by bacteria, as stated in the article. The current work is figuring out the best process for creating them to ensure sufficient strength and stiffness.
This could indeed be a valuable discovery, although it appears that quite a bit of process development will be needed. Possibly the best part may be the independence from petro-chemical feedstock requirements, although we were not told just what the feedstock does come from.
There should be quite a range of applications for the final product, though.
As for the name, why not call then "armor-fish", which has a much better ring to it.
The new composites manufacturing innovation center is intended to be a source of grand challenges for industry, like the kind that got us to the moon under JFK. These aren't the words its new CEO Craig Blue used, but that's the idea and the vision behind the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
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