Researchers have discovered that a peptide, when mixed with water, can self assemble into a rigid glass. Peptides are chains of amino acids, like smaller versions of proteins, and they make for attractive chemical building blocks due to their ability to self-assemble into structures with unique properties. Normally these structures are crystalline in nature — not much use if you want a glassy material.

But while looking for something else entirely, a team of researchers discovered that a certain peptide will develop unusual bonds with water, allowing it to form into a glass-like structure. What’s more, the unique properties of this peptide glass allow it to self heal if cracked, and act as a strong adhesive between water-loving surfaces.

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