EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND (Nov. 7, 1:45 p.m. ET) — Researchers at the University of Edinburgh believe they have made a breakthrough in the search for stronger plastics, according to a report in the journal Nature Chemistry.
Using a process that creates synthetic nanoscale pentafoil knots, the scientists hope to be able to mimic the elastic characteristics of the complex knots found in proteins and DNA.
Speaking to the Scotsman newspaper, principal researcher David Leigh, Forbes Professor of organic chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, said: “It's very early to say for sure, but the type of mechanical cross-linking we have just carried out could lead to very light but strong materials - something akin to a molecular chain mail.
“It could also produce materials with exceptional elastic or shock-absorbing properties because molecular knots and entanglements are intimately associated with those characteristics.”