Nature is where the engineering solution comes to rest. The U.S. Navy has been investigating for a product which can be used for protection for many years. Its U.S. good luck, they have found it in nature itself. They have a knight in a slimy armor coming their way.
The U.S. Navy, along with a group of engineers and scientists, is trying to develop a defense tool from nature itself. The researchers have found their layer of defense in a slimy Pacific hagfish underneath the waters. The hagfish can be used to create a synthetic material for the Navy’s benefit. Hagfish is also known as slime eels which secrete a slime to protect themselves from the predator’s gills. The slime is made up of two components—thread and mucin. The thread loosens up when in contact with water and mucin binds to the water to restrict the water flow. The interaction between mucin, thread, and water results in a 3D network slime. The slime can expand about ten thousand times its initial volume. The slime is similar to the product “kevlar” that is used normally in the bulletproof vests and combat helmets.
According to the researchers, their major goal is to develop a product which can be used in the defense to protect the war-fighters. The slime obtained from the hagfish can be used for diver protection, firefighting, anti-shark spray, explosive protection, and anti-fouling.
The researchers are still focusing towards creating synthetic slim and increasing its mass production. This biomimicking of the natural material to create a protective layer is very promising for the U.S. Navy.