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music as fibre design

Beautiful music makes better materials "It is not the building block itself that is limiting our ability to create better, more durable or stronger materials, but rather our inability to control the way these building blocks are arranged. To overcome this limitation, I am trying to design new materials in a similar way to nature. In my lab we are using the hidden structures of music to create artificial materials such as designer silks and other materials for medical and engineering applications. We want to find out if we can reformulate the design of a material using the concept of tones, melodies and rhythms. Can a composer come up with a radically different approach to design?"
posted by dhruva on Feb 5, 2014 - 8 comments

Transgenic Spidergoats Brief

Spider webs are incredibly strong and flexible. It’s no surprise, then, that spider silk proteins may someday form durable artificial ligaments for people who have injured their knees or shoulders. Six different kinds of silk are produced by orb-web weaving spiders. These silk fibers have very different mechanical properties that are so effective they have changed very little over millions of years. How to synthetically develop these silks is one focus of Lewis’ research. The secret to producing large quantities of spider silk is to use “factories” designed to manufacture spider silk proteins that are easily scale-able and efficient. Lewis uses transgenic goats, E.coli bacteria, transgenic alfalfa and transgenic silk worms to produce the spider silk proteins used to create spider silk. Spider silk is 100 times stronger than natural ligaments and 10 times stronger than natural tendons; it is stronger than Kevlar and more elastic than nylon.
A 6min brief on the work being done in Laramie, WY whereby spider silk is being spun from goat milk. SPIDERGOATS
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 24, 2013 - 24 comments

It's like Shark Week, but for goats

It is Goat Week over at Modern Farmer! Come for the live GoatCam, stay for the goat taxonomy, rules for raising a goat in the city, and a story about the effort to make goats that produced spider silk (previously).
posted by Cash4Lead on Sep 16, 2013 - 33 comments

Spider silk nanostructure one silly nanometer more amorphous

Untangling the mysteries of spider silk
See also Total X-Ray Scattering of Spider Dragline Silk
See also New internal structure of spider dragline silk revealed by atomic force microscopy.
See also Atomistic model of the spider silk nanostructure
posted by y2karl on May 7, 2012 - 10 comments

Does Rather More Than a Spider Can: Genetically Engineered "Bulletproof" Skin

Dutch Artist Bio-Engineers Spider Silk into Skin, Making It "Bulletproof". Following on the work of Randy Lewis, a scientist studying how ultra-resilient artificial spider-silk can be used for body armor and other military products, Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi has integrated this engineered silk into a patch of human skin. Experiments with a rifle necessarily followed. Video and her explanation here.
posted by darth_tedious on Aug 19, 2011 - 30 comments

Golden silk from golden orb spiders

Producing the spider silk—the only example of its kind displayed anywhere in the world—involved the efforts of 70 people who collected spiders daily from webs on telephone wires, using long poles. A unique piece of golden yellow silk brocade cloth, woven from spiderwebs, is on display at the Museum of Natural History in New York. To harvest enough silk to make the cloth, more than a million female golden orb spiders were collected in Madagascar, "milked" for silk, and released back into the wild. The golden spider silk was woven by Malagasy artisans into lamba Akotifahana, a type of brocade that is traditionally reserved for the aristocracy; the entire process took 4 years. [more inside]
posted by Quietgal on Oct 5, 2009 - 88 comments

They're farther along than I thought...

They're farther along than I thought... You may have heard about Nexia Biotechnology, who have put spider genes into goats to get milk with spider silk protein in it. I thought it was still in the research phase, but Nexia have apparently gone to market with the stuff. They've signed agreements with several manufacturers to produce spider silk protein-based products such as lightweight ballistic armor (like Kevlar, only lighter and non-toxic to produce) for the armed forces and super-strong sutures and prosthetic ligaments for medical supply companies.
posted by RylandDotNet on Jul 21, 2002 - 7 comments

Got Silk.

Got Silk. ''Oh, it's not that weird,'' Nexia's president and C.E.O., Jeffrey D. Turner, says as we walk around the pens, being nibbled constantly by aroused goats. ''What we're doing here is ingeniously simple,'' he says. ''We take a single gene from a golden orb-weaving spider and put it into a goat egg. The idea is to make the goat secrete spider silk into its milk.''
posted by srboisvert on Jun 16, 2002 - 18 comments

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