A new discovery from the University of Virginia School of Medicine reveals how sugars could be used to make almost indestructible cloth and other materials. Nature figured it out long ago, but the answer has been hidden away in bubbling baths of acid.
You might liken the sugar coating to a hard sugar shell on a candy apple. The outer sugar shell is much harder than what it surrounds. In this case, though, the sugars were arranged in such a stable fashion that even acid can’t dissolve them.
“We might get indestructible fibers, or nearly indestructible fibers, that could be used for everything from building airplanes or bridges to making new clothing,” said Egelman.
He said it could take about 50 years for the discovery to become a reality.
The discovery is but the latest for Egelman, whose many contributions to his field recently earned him election to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors a scientist can receive.
Egelman and his collaborators have published their findings in the journal Nature Microbiology.