Researchers have transformed spider silk through the addition of new materials designed to increase the strength of webbing by up to three times.
This week, a team of researchers from the UK and Italy, led by Professor Nicola Pugno at the University of Trento, Italy, revealed new research into the properties of spider silk — already known for its extraordinary strength and toughness as an organic material.
Love them or hate them, spiders weaving their silky strands are not only able to create incredibly complex patterns, but the silk itself is light enough to float in the air but also strong enough to bear the weight of the spider itself, alongside prey.
Many of us have heard the comparison between spider silk and steel, and while silk has been registered in the mid range of the overall tensile strength of steel, as a far lighter and less dense material, it is no wonder that researchers have been examining spider silk for decades to work out potential applications of the material.
According to the team’s research, published this week in the journal 2D Materials, by adding a nanomaterial — graphene in particular — they were able to improve spider silk’s strength by up to three times and increase the toughness of the material by up to ten times.
The full story is available below.
Source: ZD Net