Manchester Scientists Tie The Tightest Knot Ever

Posted: Jan 13 2017, 8:11am CST | by , Updated: Jan 13 2017, 10:16am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Scientists Tie the Tightest Molecular Knot Ever
Scientists at The University of Manchester have produced the most tightly knotted physical structure ever known – a scientific achievement which has the potential to create a new generation of advanced materials.
  • Scientists manage to bind Molecules into the Tightest of Knots
 

Scientists have managed to bind certain molecules into the tightest of knots ever seen by mankind.

University of Manchester scientists have done it once again. They have tied the tightest knot which is indeed quite an accomplishment for science and technology. This experiment will serve as the basis for future materials that have the greatest of durability and tenacity.

Multiple molecular strands were braided into the tightest and most complicated knots by these scientists. The level of expertise required has hardly been achieved up until now. 

This super knot has eight crossings in a series of 192 atoms that form a closed loop of sorts. This loop in turn is 20 nanometers in length. Different molecular knots have a varying impact on the tensile strength and elastic limits of materials.

By weaving polymers, novel materials are conceived. The tying of knots is similar in nature to the process of weaving cloth material. Thus this methodology could have carry-over applications in the weaving of novel materials.

Take bullet-proof vests and body armor. They are made of kevlar. This is basically a plastic that has ramrod molecular sticks affixed in a parallel structure. 

Yet the process could be used to create much more tensile, lightweight and flexible fibers. This could be done in the same manner as is used to create fabrics in the ordinary world.

There are polymers such as spider silk which are two times stronger than steel. This seems unbelievable to the novice but it is the patent truth. The novel materials that get generated may serve as raw produce for fabricating stuff and constructing surfaces.

It was an exercise in curiosity which produced this latest super knot. The molecular knot was tied using a technique known as self-assembly. The molecular strands were tied around metal ions.

The crossing points resembled those found in the knitting process. The loose ends were fused in the end to close the loop. This super knot happens to be the most complex material ever invented by scientists.  

This breakthrough research published today in the journal Science in a paper entitled: 'Braiding a molecular knot with eight crossings'.

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