Spider silk in your ear? For once, that sounds like a good idea.
The best part? The spiders themselves produce it.
The artificial spider silk is non-toxic and the manufacturing process is sustainable.
Scientists believe they might have finally untangled the method of creating spider silk-like materials.
Graphene – the one atom thick sheet of carbon arranged in a hexagon lattice – is the strongest material known to man, and spider silk is one of the strongest found in nature, second only to limpet teeth. Heck, why not combine the two? Sounds silly, but it surprisingly worked when Nicola Pugno of the University of Trento, Italy sprayed spiders with both graphene particles and carbon nanotubes. The spiders weaved silk infused with the materials, and in some cases the silk was 3.5 times stronger than its natural counterpart. The resulting fiber is tougher than “synthetic polymeric high performance fibers (e.g. Kevlar49) and even the current toughest knotted fibers,” according to the paper published in Materials Science, which obviously entails a lot of real-life applications, industrial or otherwise.
Pound for pound, spider silk is one of the strongest materials in the world; it’s about five times stronger than a piano wire – and a piano wire has to put up with a lot of pressure. Researchers have long tried to develop materials which mimic the remarkable properties of spider silk, but only now did Arizona scientists announce that
Xinwei Wang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State studies thermal conductivity – and he had a funny feeling about spiders; so he ordered eight spiders — Nephila clavipes, golden silk orbweavers — and put them to work eating crickets and spinning webs in the cages he set up. Wang has been looking for organic materials which can transfer heat