Synthetic spider silk: the material of the future today




Fiction ,Synthetic spider silk: the material of the future today

spider silk

Long before the appearance of “Spider-Man” people realized that the extra strength web spiders can not only catch their prey, but also the fact that on the basis of this web, you can create a very strong fabric. However, her collection – a very long and laborious process that is complicated by the fact that the content of the set of spiders in one place is not the best idea succumbing instinct to fight for territory, under the motto “provokes the strongest” they will kill each other.

However, the Japanese company called Spiber states that created artificial cobwebs, whose strength comparable to steel, and flexibility – with rubber. According to the company, the material is so strong and light that on this basis, you can create just about anything, from clothing, body armor, auto body parts and ending with medical equipment and even the suits.

“Web – this is truly amazing stuff. It is both lightweight, durable and elastic. It is able to withstand an incredible amount of energy exerted on it, “- said the president of the company Spiber Kazuhide Sekiyama, the head of which, by his own admission, during a night drinking (yes) and his colleagues had the idea to artificially recreate the web (or spider silk) .

The new material called Qmonos (literally translated from Japanese – ‘web’). The company says that it wants to spend a few experiments that will strengthen the web of artificial due to the additional coverage. In the end, as with any organic material, it can suddenly “break.”

However Spiber hopes to launch his invention into mass production within two years, creating by 2015 a ton this wonderful web. Already starting in November are going to increase the turnover of production per month per 100 kilograms.

In general, this is not the first time that nature is inherently itself contains solutions to human problems and issues. One of the most successful examples of biomimetics is the textile fastener, invented in 1948 by Swiss engineer George de Mestral, who, after a walk in nature, tearing off his pants stuck to his dog’s fur and burdock, understood the principle that burdock latched on to them. A more recent example is the development of the Japanese company Nitto Denko – incredibly resistant to high temperature glue, to create a company that inspired the principle that geckos cling to the surface.


Spiber created this dress is made ​​of artificial spider silk. However, it is hoped that this material will be interested manufacturers of automotive components, medical devices and body armor.

Amazing properties of the web is also not an exception to attention of scientists. After all, it can be stretched up to 40 percent from its original state and it does not tear. It is not surprising that a few centuries ago, the web, due to its elasticity, used as fishing line. In the presence of the same weight, it is stronger than steel and bone, double elastic nylon and even the ability to stop moving at full speed train (!), Said some experts .

This is not the first attempt of scientists in the production of artificial spider silk. One promising example was a company Nexia Biotechnologies, which is due to bioengineering able to ensure that the milk, which gave goats were kept strands of web. In 2000, the company was able to find an investment of $ 42.4 million, but in 2009 went bankrupt because of its invention and has not found commercial value.

“The success of Spiber depends on whether it can make a wonderful web of ubiquitous” – says Shigiesi Osaka, professor of medicine at the Medical University Nara, showing how to weave a web of four millimeters thick and consists of 190,000 threads can hold the weight of the .

The molecular structure of spider silk proteins are quite complex and rich in glycine, alanine and serine. It is through this created the perfect balance between flexibility and strength, but at the same time creates difficulties in its artificial production. Can the company and can reproduce parts of the protein, but it is a special molecular structure makes the web so strong. Despite the fact that Spiber not share all the details of the process of building its web, the company did disclose some of the details.


Scientists have created bacteria with recombinant DNA and programmed it to the production of a protein web. Then, the resulting protein is isolated and pushed through a hole the size of a pinhead hole. When using only one gram of protein you can get nine kilometers of silk thread.

According to the company Spiber, since the announcement of the new technology last August, she received more than a hundred proposals for cooperation on this project. Auto parts manufacturer company Kojima Press Industry has invested in the development of 750 million yen (7.6 million dollars), so that at the beginning of this month Spiber opened a research center and launched its first manufacturing plant in the wonderful web of Tsuruoka city in northwestern Japan.

super silk

The Company believes that it is quite capable to adapt the web to produce automotive parts including tires, bumpers, and even electronic stuffing. The medical use of the production seen flexible medical devices and instruments such as artificial arteries, ligaments and biodegradable thread.

At the moment, the most important competitor is the German company Spiber AMSilk GmbH, which promises in the very near future to produce a similar material, which she called Biosteel. This material is also obtained from recombinant proteins web, which are passed through a spiral machine, which recreates the structure of weaving spider silk.

Another competitor is a Japanese company based in Michigan Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc., Which says that genetically engineered silkworms reared worms capable of producing arachnoid thread.

The main trump Spiber, had time to get a total of more 780 million yen from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Chamber, as well as from Keio University and Yamagata Prefecture, in her own words is speed. The company is ready to develop new kinds of spider web with a variety of opportunities for the ultra-short period of three days and says he has come up with 250 different types of webs, she already can produce. These spiders are also, by the way, produce only about seven types of web.

Previous researchers have learned to print three-dimensional objects from molten metal
Tags: Biomedical Engineering , Materials , Web .

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