Threads from hagfishes' defensive goo demonstrate superior strength and flexibility
Step aside spiders. Threads made by another creepy-crawly — the eel-like hagfish — may lead to superior new fibers for parachutes, packaging and perhaps even clothing. A new study that examines the mechanical properties of threads made from hagfishes’ slimy mucus finds the fibers are both strong and stretchy, and may serve as a model for creating superior new materials.
“The tensile properties approach those of spider silk, and that’s very exciting,” says biomaterials specialist Douglas Fudge of the University of Guelph in Canada. Synthetic fabrics such as nylon are derived from petroleum, n