Algae’s benefits just keep on accruing: it produces fuels, it can purify wastewaters, it consumes CO2, it is nutritious and, it turns out, it is also incredibly strong. Researchers at the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) recently measured this by studying single-celled algae organisms called diatoms. Their more specific focus was on the frustules: the cell walls encasing the diatoms.
The Caltech scientists isolated these frustules and conducted bend tests with them to adjudicate their strength. The result? They discovered that these frustules had the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any known biological materials. As an article in the Independent points out, that means frustules are stronger than bone, teeth or antlers.
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