Spider silk


Abhishek K

Researchers around the world are trying to fabricate a fibre which is tough as steel and yet greatly elastic. The inspiration for such a material comes from nature. An average strand of spider web is more tough and elastic than a steel fibre of four times its thickness.

Most recently, scientists have developed a method for spinning stronger spider silk by mimicking the way spiders do it. This could be a stepping stone towards producing spider silk on a commercial scale. Spider silk is sought out because of many reasons. Along with toughness, spider silk is bio degradable also which gives it an edge over plastic fibres.

Spider silk is nothing but long chains of linked proteins produced naturally in many living beings. Scientists have tried various animals like goats, spiders and bacteria to produce some kind of super tough fibres like spider silk.

Spider silk has a unique combination of high tensile strength and extensibility. It allows the fibre to absorb a lot of energy before breaking. Usually it’s tensile strength is comparable to that of high-grade alloy steel. Once produced on commercial scale, spider silk could be used to make parachutes, super-tough lines, ropes, bullet proof jackets etc. It could also be used to make light weight glass for air crafts and space ships.


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