Coming soon: Vehicles from lungfish teeth?

A team, has claimed the tooth enamel of lungfish could provide basis for material to make aircraft.

Melbourne: A team at the Queensland University of Technology, has claimed the tooth enamel of lungfish -- favoured for toughness and durability -- could provide the basis for material to make aircraft or vehicles lighter and fuel-efficient.

"Without new materials we would never had had modern and efficient cars, for example. Compared with 60 years ago cars of today have much better handling, acceleration and braking and safety features thanks to the discovery of new materials along the way," team leader Prof John Barry said.

According to the scientists, by copying some of the structures in lungfish teeth it should be possible to make composites which could be used more widely in cars and planes.

"At present, carbon fibre composites are the best available, and although carbon fibre composites are very strong `along the grain` they are very weak `across the grain` and their uses are limited," he said.

"If general-use composites can be developed it will be possible to make cars and aircraft that are lighter and more fuel efficient," he said.