At first glance, the combination of strength and toughness in one material looks unlikely, but a new substance obtained by mixing wood fibers and spider webs makes this quite possible.
To create a new experimental material, scientists from Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Center (Finland) used birch pulp, which was split into tiny fibers - cellulose nanofibrils. Then an adhesive (a substance capable of surface adhesion) from a spider web was added to the resulting mass, resulting in a soft, energy-dissipating matrix consisting of direction-aligned nanofibrils.
Studies have shown that the properties of the new plastic "surpass most modern synthetic and natural materials" in the ability to resist irreversible deformation and fracture loads. In addition, unlike some types of plastics with similar properties, the new material is completely biodegradable. Unfortunately, it is still difficult to obtain an artificial analogue of the web on an industrial scale.
The unique material can find practical application in the production of implants, textiles, packaging and shock-resistant items.