Mechanical properties of mussel byssus threads
Smeathers, J.E. & Vincent, J.F.V. (1979) Mechanical properties of mussel byssus threads. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 45(2), pp. 219-230.
The byssus threads of the common mussel, Mytilus edulis L., have been tested mechanically and the results from the tests related to the ecology of the animal. The threads are mechanically similar to other crystalline polymers such as polyethylene having a modulus of about 108N m−2 and a long relaxation time. Resilience of 60% is similar to tendon; ultimate strain is about five times that of tendon at 0.44. The thread is laid down with a prestrain of 10% and so guys the mussel in position. Calculation shows that a mussel with 50 byssus threads would be able to resist all but severe winter storms.
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