An adaptive protein crystal having an uncommon “auxetic” property was created by a team: When the substance is squeezed in one single path, it reduces or shrinks in the other direction rather than expanding, producing the material denser. This property hasn’t previously been shown at molecular level.
We found a way to create strong, flexible, reversible bonds to connect the protein tiles at their corners. These materials are very easy to make, yet provide many new research directions both in terms of materials applications and understanding the fundamental principles of nanoscale self-assembly,” said Akif Tezcan, senior author of the study.
This substance may be used, for instance, even to create more protective armor, or to create better-running sneakers, because they might offer greater cushioning for heels.
Tezcan’s team utilized a square-shaped protein named RhuA in order to make a sheet-like tiled material: The proteins in this crystal are in a regular, repeating pattern and linked with reversible bonds. The bonds’ versatility enables the proteins to fill and to turn in the open spaces.
This property enables the substance to react to tension that is bodily similarly in most directions. When the substance squeezed or is extended in one single path, all of the proteins turn altogether which creates retention or a stretch, respectively, within the direction that is also different.
This quality is displayed in physics from the Poisson ratio, that will be simply the ratio between the expansion pressure in another path in a substance and also the contraction pressure in one single path.Normal materials have a positive Poisson ratio, with rubber being closer to the possible upper limit. The material developed by Tezcan includes a Poisson ratio of -1, that will be the cheapest feasible price for this.
Although there’s more to complete, it appears as though it’s a goldmine of beneficial qualities before this substance may be used commercially. Under the right chemical conditions, the material even heals itself.