5-speed listening (Level 3)

Scientists make self-repairing clothes



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Humans have learnt many things from nature. These things have helped us in our daily life. The latest thing is self-repairing clothing. Scientists have developed a special way for clothing to repair rips and tears by itself, without the need for sewing. It works with materials such as cotton, linen and wool. The scientists are from the Naval Research Office and Pennsylvania State University in the USA. Scientists Dr. Walter Dressick and Dr Melik Demirel looked at how squid can cling on to things so well. The research team found a protein in the rings of teeth that cover the suckers on a squid. The protein is similar to the one found in the silk that spiders use to make spider webs. It is very strong and elastic (stretchy).

The new protein has been developed as part of a coating, which is put on clothes. When the coating is dipped in water, the area around the rip or tear joins together in less than a minute. This could help clothes last longer and save us money. It could also be useful for military and survival clothes. People like soldiers and mountaineers would be safer if they had clothes that repaired quickly and easily. Professor Demirel spoke about the invention. He said: "The coatings are thin, less than a micron, so they wouldn't be noticed in everyday wear." He added: "Even thin, they increase the overall strength of the material. For the first time, we are making self-healing textiles."

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