Materials: Spider Silk

Looking at the properties of silk for KS4 science For decades chemists, geneticists and bio-engineers have been trying to produce synthetic spider silk. If and when they do the plastics industry as the world has come to know it will be radically transformed. Spider silk is environmentally friendly, it’s produced at room temperatures and is biodegradable. It’s up to five times stronger than steel, as strong as kevlar used for bullet proof vests, and is very flexible. Labs in the UK, Germany, and the US all claim to be close to a breakthrough.

In the past spider silk has been used for the cross-hairs of weapon sights. In the future artificial spider silk may be used for the building of a suspension bridge. But efforts to crack all the secrets of spider silk have so far left scientists frustrated by this bio-engineering marvel.

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