Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hard As Nails! Scientists Work Out Best Conditions For Mimicking Fingernails

Date:
April 3, 2007
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Most people know that their nails always go soft and bendy when they immerse them in hot water for any length of time. Conversely when you cut your nails they dry up and become hard and brittle. But why is this? Biologists working with material scientists at the University of Manchester have worked out the best conditions for our nails which may ultimately help the cosmetic industry to mimic the real thing and refine their false nail and varnish products.

Most people know that their nails always go soft and bendy when they immerse them in hot water for any length of time. Conversely when you cut your nails they dry up and become hard and brittle.

But why is this? Biologists working with material scientists at the University of Manchester have worked out the best conditions for our nails which may ultimately help the cosmetic industry to mimic the real thing and refine their false nail and varnish products.

Dr Roland Ennos and his colleagues have found that our nails are at their best at a humidity of around 60%, which is the natural humidity of the fingernail bed in which the nail sits at the ends of our fingers. The bed supplies water at this humidity to the underside of the nail giving it maximum toughness and stopping the nail from breaking lengthways towards the quick of the fingernail (which would be a very painful and dangerous experience).

Weighing tests show that the relative humidity of the nail is around 55-60%, kept up by being held next to the damp nail bed. At this relative humidity, cutting tests (with nail clippers) show that the nail is safest from breaking into the nail bed because the energy needed to cut into the nail is much larger than to cut across the nail.

Using scanning electron microscopy the scientists have found that the nail is made up of three distinct layers with the middle layer protecting the delicate bottom layer from breaking towards the quick. At higher and lower humidities (such as that experienced in hot baths or on cold dry days) these protective properties change and the nails lose their qualities.

Postgraduate researcher, Laura Farran, presented these findings at the Society for Experimental Biology's Annual Main Meeting in Glasgow on Sunday 1st April 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Experimental Biology. "Hard As Nails! Scientists Work Out Best Conditions For Mimicking Fingernails." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102346.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2007, April 3). Hard As Nails! Scientists Work Out Best Conditions For Mimicking Fingernails. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102346.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Hard As Nails! Scientists Work Out Best Conditions For Mimicking Fingernails." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102346.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins