DailyDirt: Doing Whatever A Spider Can...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

For years, researchers have been looking at spider silk's properties to try to re-create it into supermaterials tougher than Kevlar or steel. We're still learning a lot about how spider silk is made and what its structures are, so it'll probably be a few more decades before everyone is wearing clothes made from spider silk. In the meantime, here are a few interesting articles on spider silk. By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.
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Filed Under: fabric, kevlar, material, silkworms, spider silk, steel


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  1. icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), 2 May 2012 @ 6:54pm

    Spider silks are becoming something of a holy grail in some scientific and commercial realms for nanotech uses, human armour and for their sheer strength alone. That spiders make an array of silks for different purposes is fascinating all by itself and how it affects their webs, egg sacs, each of which seems to have a different but highly useful task in the web.

    While I admit that I don't understand this at any level that could be called "in depth" it has changed my outlook on spiders and admiration at what evolution has come up with to answer a myriad set of issues in web construction beyond it sticking to my face! And all of this while creating one of the strongest materials we've ever come across.

    Fascinating creatures are spiders.

    I wonder if we ever will find a way to harvest spider silk(s) commercially?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    A Guy (profile), 2 May 2012 @ 7:12pm

    Re:

    I think we already do. It's just not economical for many applications.

    I think (hope) carbon nanotubes will become economically viable before spider silk.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), 2 May 2012 @ 7:21pm

    Re:

    Harvesting spider silk from spiders isn't easy... There are a lot of problems with that plan b/c spiders actually produce different kinds of silk for different purposes, and it's hard to force them to produce the kind you want. Spiders also eat insects, so it's a bit difficult to feed them in a spider farm. Spiders also fight each other. Spiders also don't naturally produce that much silk at a time.

    So maybe if we figure out how to genetically modify a domesticated spider... and breed a special kind of spider that is suited just for producing silk.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    technomage (profile), 2 May 2012 @ 7:38pm

    Re: Re:

    it's been tried in the past, here is a tapestry made from spider silk: http://rugmaster.blogspot.com/2009/10/spider-silk-tapestry-first-of-its-kind.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Pixelation, 2 May 2012 @ 10:30pm

    Instead of trying to increase spider silk production we should just make REALLY big spiders. They will naturally produce more silk. Problem solved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Jack Lloyd, 3 May 2012 @ 6:49am

    We do not have to wait for decades for spider silk clothes. Here are links to the future of material science. A company call Kraig Biocraft is leading the way using transgenic silkworms to produce spider silk in commercial quantities.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America January 17, 2012 Issue, Article Titled:
    Silkworms Transformed with Chimeric Silkworm/Spider Silk Genes Spin Composite Silk Fibers with Improved Mechanical Properties.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/01/02/1109420109.abstract

    Spider Silk Potential Unleashed:
    http://www.textileworld.com/Articles/2012/January/Jan-Feb_issue/Departments/QFOM_Spider_Silk.html

    6 Spider-Silk Super Powers:
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/med-tech/6-spider-silk-superpowers#slide-1



    Published by MIT

    Transgenic Worms Make Tough Fibers:
    http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/26623/page1/



    Silk Spinning The Genetically Modified Way:
    www.labnews.co.uk/features/silk-spinning-the-genetically-modified-way/

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Jack Lloyd, 3 May 2012 @ 6:50am

    Spider Silk

    We do not have to wait for decades for spider silk clothes. Here are links to the future of material science. A company call Kraig Biocraft is leading the way using transgenic silkworms to produce spider silk in commercial quantities.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America January 17, 2012 Issue, Article Titled:
    Silkworms Transformed with Chimeric Silkworm/Spider Silk Genes Spin Composite Silk Fibers with Improved Mechanical Properties.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/01/02/1109420109.abstract

    Spider Silk Potential Unleashed:
    http://www.textileworld.com/Articles/2012/January/Jan-Feb_issue/Departments/QFOM_Spider_Silk.html

    6 Spider-Silk Super Powers:
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/med-tech/6-spider-silk-superpowers#slide-1



    Published by MIT

    Transgenic Worms Make Tough Fibers:
    http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/26623/page1/



    Silk Spinning The Genetically Modified Way:
    www.labnews.co.uk/features/silk-spinning-the-genetically-modified-way/

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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