Scientist Web-Spinners Could Just Ask Spiderman

A team of scientists in Germany are making progress in understanding how spiders spin webs of great strength. Spider silk has been used for a long time because it has great tensile strength, which rivals that of high-grade steel, despite being much less dense.

Industrial quantities of artificial spider silk would be of great value; it could be used in bullet-proof vests, strong ropes and fishing nets. Spider silk has an additional property; it is biodegradable; it could be used as sutures that would just degrade over time in the body.

Natural spider silk has also been used as a folk remedy; when used to cover wounds it seems to improve the healing process.

Professor Andreas Bausch and his team claim to have solved one of the major problems; they've created an artificial spinning duct that mimics the spinneret of the spider. The spinneret is an organ which converts a liquid solution of stored protein into a strong, silken thread.

Professor Bausch said that the artificial spinning duct he and his colleagues have created brings together the unfolded proteins dissolved in the storage solution. That is done by squeezing them through a smaller and smaller hole until they emerge as a folded, insoluble sheet of proteins which form the solid fibre of silk.

Now, hasn't Spiderman already solved that problem? Bausch and his colleagues could have just googled it like I did.


(Spinneret Nozzle Closeup (via Marvel Universe))

The web fluid used by Spiderman is a shear-thickening fluid that is related to nylon.

Via Scientists succeed in mimicking the way spiders spin their super-strength webs; thanks to Moira for the tip (find out more about how Spidey does it at Marvel Universe Spider-Man's Web-Shooters).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/1/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...' - Doc Smith, 1934.

New Paper - Write With Light Erase With Heat
Writing with light, erasing with heat.

Reconfigured Graphene 10X Strong, 5 Percent Dense, As Steel
'...It was made of Alohydrolium, which is the lightest of all metals.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1911.

MIT's aeroMorph Technology
'... It falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.' - Samuel R. Delany, 1966.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'Thereís still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.