You may have already noticed that I am very fascinated by new materials, I have already talked about the superblack material developed by NASA and also about the lightest material in the world, well, now it is the turn of Shrilk, a new material that has many interesting features, the first one being its name, which sounds like something out of a science fiction book.

This development comes from Harvard University, specifically from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, where they have developed Shrilk based on one of the most extraordinary materials in nature: the cuticle of insects.

Una vez más imitamos a los insectos

The cuticle is intended to protect insects but without adding weight to them, making it extremely lightweight. It also serves to shape the muscles and wings, but is able to protect them from chemical and physical attacks while safeguarding their insides.

This cuticle is made up of layers of chitin, a polysaccharide polymer and proteins, and mechanical and chemical interactions between these components give it its unique characteristics.

These interactions are what the Wyss researchers have deciphered to create the new material, which, as a clarification, its name comes from the translation of shrimp into English, because it is composed of silk fibroin and chitin, which is commonly extracted from the shells of these crustaceans.

To give you an idea of the properties of Shrilk, it has the same strength and durability as an aluminum alloy, but only half its weight. In addition, being a biological product, it is completely biodegradable, and since it is obtained from a waste product, it is quite economical. As if this were not enough, it is also possible to mold it quite easily and even its rigidity can be varied.

Source | Wyss