Argonne National Laboratory

An Understanding of Elastin's Properties Springs Forth

September 1, 2011

Physiological flexibility comes from the protein elastin, deriving properties from the building-block molecule tropoelastin, which behaves as an ideal elastomer because it loses no energy between stretch and relaxation. Researchers using the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory have identified how tropoelastin molecules form a "head-to-tail" assembly, helping explain how these molecules work together to confer elastic properties in tissues throughout the body and paving the way for development of synthetic materials that can reproduce nature's elastic properties. More ยป