Scientists Recreate Spider Silk In New Liquid Wire Material

  • Mary Nichols , Design & Trend Contributor
  • May, 23, 2016, 06:06 AM
Tags : science, news
Spider Web
(Photo : Getty Image/Phillipe Huguen) Researchers have unveiled a man made liquid fiber, which possesses the same properties as spider web.

Researchers have unveiled a man-made liquid fiber, which possesses the same properties as one of nature's most extraordinary materials - spider silk.

Scientists from the University of Oxford and Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris studied how spider webs are able to remain rigid and intact despite repeated overextension, writes Nature World News.

The researchers found that the loose threads roll back into tiny drops of a sticky water-like substance when stretched out. The small fibers of the web's capture spiral are coated in this sticky substance.

'The thousands of tiny droplets of glue that cover the capture spiral of the spider's orb web do much more than make the silk sticky and catch the fly,' said Professor Fritz Vollrath, from the Department of Zoology of Oxford Silk Group, according to The Daily Mail.

The naturally produced material is much stronger than some of the strongest synthetics produced by man, including Nylon and Kevlar, according to Gizmodo. Spider web strength is comparable to steel, with elasticity similar to rubber. The acidity contained in spider web also acts as a preventative, deterring the growth of fungi and bacteria.

The findings, which were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, prompted scientists to try to recreate a man-made material with similar properties to spider web.

Prior to the creation of liquid wire, teams had attempted many methods to reproduce the material - including attempts to grow spider silk using plants, and producing the silk using lactating goats. However, none of these methods proved successful in recreating the complex molecular components found in spider silk.

Experts believe that the creation of liquid wire is just a starting point for the material.

"These new insights could lead to a wide range of applications, such as microfabrication of complex structures, reversible micro-motors, or self-tensioned stretchable systems," said Dr Hervé Elettro, an author from Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, according to Popular Mechanics.

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