Biogel armour can stop a supersonic projectile in its tracks

A protein found in human cells has been repurposed to make a material that reforms when it is struck by a projectile, capturing the object intact


13 December 2022

Bullet passing through an apple

Not all materials can stop a projectile

Harold E. Edgerton/Smithsonian American Art Museum

A gel made of a protein found in human cells can capture particles travelling at supersonic speeds without destroying them on impact, suggesting the material could be used in body armour or for collecting space debris.

Our cells contain a protein called talin that helps them sense and navigate their local environment in the body by changing structure in response to external forces. Benjamin Goult and his colleagues at the University of Kent, UK, have made a talin-based gel that reforms after it …

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