Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spider Silk is the Next Reinforceing Fiber

I've discussed recently the study of biomimicry, and where the composites industry can look at nature to further advance technology.

Here is a fascinating Wired magazine article, discussing how 70 researchers spent 4 years manually collecting spider silk from Golden Orb spiders (as seen above) in Madagascar. They wove the silk into a beautiful textile... Truly amazing.

Spider silk is one of the strongest materials known to man, with properties far exceeding high-grade steel and aramid fibers. The fiber is also extremely elastic. Researchers across the world have tried to copy the the production method of spider silk, but are not yet successful. Spiders are able to take a liquid solution of chemicals and compounds, and under extremely high pressure, extrude their silk. Scientists are able to duplicate the liquid, but not the spiders manufacturing process.

Could you imagine composite armor made from spider silk?

Photo Credit: aussiegall via flicker

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