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
posted by dhruva
on Feb 5, 2014 -
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 -
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 -
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 -