Friday, February 10, 2017

Hagfish to the Rescue?

Navy researches armor made from synthetic Hagfish slime
The U.S. Navy may be considering a new kind of body armor. Made from hagfish slime. No shit. I can only add: Eww. Excerpt:
It looks and feels a lot like snot, but Navy researchers believe slime produced by the primitive hagfish could help save lives.
The bottom-dwelling hagfish is commonly referred to as a slime eel because it looks like an eel and produces a slimy substance that quickly expands in water to enable it to escape from predators by clogging up an attacker’s gills.
That unique capability is what has captured the Navy’s imagination .
Its researchers believe that, by reproducing the slime, they one day could replace synthetic products derived from petroleum, such as Kevlar that’s used in bulletproof vests. It’s not just science fiction, either.
The Navy says one of its research teams in Panama City, Fla., has already re-created the material. Now it’s beginning to work on how best to turn the synthetic slime into something useful.
“From a tactical standpoint, it would be interesting to have a material that can change the properties of the water at dilute concentrations in a matter of seconds,” Ryan Kincer, a materials engineer at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, said in a statement.
Hagfish slime is amazing stuff, but bulletproof?

Watch what happens when a shark or another fish try to eat a hagfish:

One time, on a research cruise we trawled up some hag fish. Somebody put a few of them in a 5 gallon bucket of seawater, and stirred. The resulting glop held together when pour out. We had to shovel it over the side.

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