Researchers from Beijing's Tsinghua University managed to create a nacre-like material that's stronger than natural nacre (and most other composite). Nacre (mother of pearl) is made from calcium carbonate and biopolymers in a brickwork structure that's nearly a thousand times stronger than its component parts.
To create the new material, the researchers started with a hyrdogel made from graphene and fibroin (a silk protein), and then solution coated it and dried it to create parallel graphene plates bound with fibroid, which self assembled to create a brickwork structure.
The new material is stronger than other composites because graphene is stronger than the inorganic platelets commonly used. The homogeneous composite aerogel is an "ideal layered structure. In addition, the strong electrostatic and hydrogen bonding between fibroin and graphene made the final material even stronger.