Slip knot key to creating world's toughest fiber

May 15, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new way of making super tough fibres could be realised by a simple knot, according to new research from a materials scientist at Queen Mary University of London.

Publishing in the journal PLOS ONE, the paper suggests the new method could make ordinary polymers – large molecules with repeating units - reach unprecedented by adding a to absorb additional energy.

"The simple manoeuvre of adding a slip knot creates a coil of extra length that is resistant when it comes under tension and can dissipate energy thanks to the friction in the knot," said author Nicola Pugno, Professor of Materials Science at Queen Mary's School of Engineering and Materials Science.

Professor Pugno tested three different types of slip knots on commercial polymers such as dyneema and endumax, which are used in fishing lines.

The configuration that allowed for the most toughness was produced with endumax, increasing its toughness from 44 Joules per gram to 1070 Joules per gram, the equivalent of ten times that of Kevlar, which is used in body armour (90 Joules per gram).

Professor Pugno is working on different to find suitable knots for industries designing the next generation of super tough materials such as sustainable packaging and medical implants.

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User comments : 6

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TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (8) May 15, 2014
So try it on nanotubes. The space elevator is getting closer all the time.
El_Nose
2 / 5 (2) May 15, 2014
??? how does one make slip knots on a rope that measured in km Otto?
Writela
5 / 5 (2) May 15, 2014
How this story differs from this one year old article above listed?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (6) May 15, 2014
??? how does one make slip knots on a rope that measured in km Otto?
You can wait and find out. I assume it would be grown that way. And fibers don't have to be that long if they can be joined. With knots perhaps.

I'm sure the engrs will figure something out. They always do (sigh)
hemitite
5 / 5 (2) May 15, 2014
"The simple manoeuvre of adding a slip knot creates a coil of extra length that is resistant when it comes under tension and can dissipate energy thanks to the friction in the knot,"

The heat generated in this sort of material by tension may be a problem in thick ropes etc.
Doug_Huffman
5 / 5 (4) May 15, 2014
The illustrated knot is a figure-eight that requires access to the bitter ends. There are knots and slip-knots that can be tied in a standing part without access to the bitters.

Good observation on heat in thick parts under tension. A climbers rope can be melted by tension strain in the knot. A knot is a friction device, and strain is motion.