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Is a strand of human hair stronger than a strand of steel the same size?
Question Date: 2018-10-23
Answer 1:

To answer your question, we must first truly understand what you mean by "stronger". There are two types of mechanical strength, compressional and tensile.

Compressional strength is how much a material resists being compressed, or "squished". Tensile strength is how much a material resists being stretched. For example, stretching two ends of a rubber band apart until it breaks would be an example of tensile strength, whereas a martial arts master breaking a wooden board with a punch is an example of compressional strength for the board.

Hair is made of a type of molecule known as proteins. Proteins tend to have very high tensile strength and low compressional strength. In terms of tensile strength, hair is stronger than steel of the same size, however the opposite is true for compressional strength.

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