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Keywords:

  • cuticles;
  • biomaterials;
  • shrilk;
  • chitin;
  • silk
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Javier Fernandez and Donald Ingber demonstrate on page 480 that chitosan-fibroin laminates inspired by natural insect cuticles have unexpected strength and toughness. The inside cover image shows a scaled replica of a Thesoneura Americana hind wing made of Shrilk, which is a synthetic insect cuticle material composed of a laminate of chitosan and fibroin. Thesoneura is a member of the Palepdictyoptera family that is believed to be one of the first primitive flying insects. This insect became extinct about 300 million years ago; the shape was reproduced from fossil records and the vein pattern was reproduced from a grasshopper hind wing.