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Home > News > Scientists Strengthen Spider Silk by Mixing In Metal

April 27th, 2009

Scientists Strengthen Spider Silk by Mixing In Metal

Abstract:
It's probably good that Charlotte isn't around to learn that her marvelous web has been improved upon -- and by people, no less.

pider silk is one of nature's engineering triumphs, stronger on a per-weight basis than steel. Scientists reported last week that they had made it three to 10 times as strong (depending on how strength is measured) by infiltrating it with atoms of metals such as titanium, aluminum and zinc.

The process turns out to recapitulate something that locusts and marine worms -- animals not known for intelligence -- do. It is helping illuminate some fine points of protein chemistry. It might eventually lead to new types of strong and light material similar to carbon fiber.

Source:
washingtonpost.com

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