Some amazing scientific facts about hair

Hair is not only one of our most important external beauty features , it is also very strong.


Scientists now wanted to know whether our hair is just as tear-resistant as that of various mammals. A surprise came to light:


You’d think that thin hair tears more easily than thick hair, but it’s the other way around. The thinner the hair, the more tear-resistant.


Elephant hair breaks much faster than ours.


The reason for this is the structure in which the hair breaks, depending on the diameter, it breaks differently.


Our hair is very thin individually:


European hair is about 0.06 to 0.08 in diameter

Asian hair is a bit thicker, about 0.08 to 0.12mm, so it’s still very thin.

Hair is made of keratin.


About 500 to 1000 pieces can carry our entire body weight.

The tensile strength is 200 to 260 megapascals. Hair is as tearproof as steel if you include the density of both materials.

The researchers believe that starch grows from the special structure of the hair:


They have an outer cuticle layer, the cuticle. Inside is the cortex, which are all bundles of fibers, which in turn are made up of even thinner keratin fibers. and which contain even thinner fibers:


This structure leads to extreme resilience.


With our hair.


And the animal hair?


The fur of horses, bears, wild boar, elephants and giraffes and the hair of collar peccaries and capybaras were examined:


The hair diameter differed considerably from species to species.

an elephant hair is four times as thick as a human hair.


Stress tests showed that the thicker the hair, the faster it tore.


This was also evident in human hair:


Thinner children’s hair is more tear-resistant than adult hair.


Differences in structure between types may not be the reason.


So the researchers examined everything again under the electron microscope:


It came out that animal and human hair are very similar.

It was seen that hair that is over 0.2 mm thick breaks differently, namely with a smooth break.

Thinner hair breaks irregularly, like a branch. This creates zigzag cracks. These are spreading. Breakage only occurs when various cracks meet.

Materials that break like this last much longer than those that break smoothly.

This connection is also known from metal wires, in which thinner ones hold better than thicker ones.


In materials research, it is known that a thicker piece is more likely to have a defect.


The researchers now want to develop resistant synthetic materials along the lines of hair.


But they are still far from creating something that is remotely close to these wonderful structures that are so beautiful.

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