How do ants’ teeth chew hard wood?
Oregon: Have you ever wondered how painful it is to be bitten by ants and how the teeth of this delicate insect can be chewed on hard wood? There are things that make her teeth unusually hard.
A joint study by the University of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) found that although the gut of intestinal and termites teeth is very tight. But a metal like zinc gives them extraordinary strength. We know that ants’ teeth are made of protein and a polysaccharide polymer called chitin. Now if it contains calcium carbonate, it becomes harder, which we see in the form of crab and lobster shells.
If 8% zinc is added to the ant’s shell, they become extraordinarily strong. In this regard, the scientists considered the hardness, flexibility, energy and friction resistance of ant teeth. Because ant teeth are viewed on a nuclear scale, ion beam microscopy was used. In the process, the ant’s teeth were heated with electric shocks to blow off its upper surface.
Then the individual atoms on the ant’s teeth became clear. Experts found that zinc atoms were grouped in a certain order, and scientists also noted them individually. This arrangement of zinc atoms makes ants’ teeth faster and stronger.
Experts believe that there are many lessons for us humans from this research. We can harden plastics and other materials using zinc.