Spider silk nanostructure one silly nanometer more amorphous
May 7, 2012 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Take my money.
posted by quoquo at 1:03 PM on May 7, 2012

posted by y2karl at 1:06 PM on May 7, 2012

This TED talk on spider silk was pretty cool/interesting.
posted by MustardTent at 1:09 PM on May 7, 2012

Holy comprehensive alt-text, batman!
posted by jcreigh at 2:52 PM on May 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

Great, now I know what it looks like.

How can I get it to shoot out of my wrists?
posted by cacofonie at 4:05 PM on May 7, 2012


But can you get them to build interesting things that we can see?

This cloth that was created from spider silk (youtube link) was absolutely stunning. When I saw it, I really wanted to know more about how this was done, and this Wired article addresses it. In brevity, they collected spiders, hooked them up to a spider-silking machine, and then released them back out into the wild.

Apparently it may become fashionable as here is a cape made of spider silk.

Now these things take years to create and millions of spiders, so how can we shorten this?

Genetically engineered cows and goats have been created with genes for spider silk expressed in their mammary glands.

So maybe, one day, with a bit of genetic engineering thrown in we can create our own webs, although if the same strategy is followed, probably not out of wrists.

posted by Wolfster at 5:14 PM on May 7, 2012

Here's a previous post about the spider silk cloth and how it was made.
posted by Quietgal at 7:45 PM on May 7, 2012

2.6g 329m/s...
2.6g 329m/s are the maximum weight and velocity of a .22 calibre Long Rifle bullet from which a Type 1 bulletproof vest should protect you.

Spider silk thread is relatively much stronger than steel and can even be made by a living being. Woven it would be capable to resist the impact of a bullet, much like a bee on the spider’s web. If human skin would be able to produce this thread, would we be protected from bullets? Together with the Forensic Genomics Consortium Netherlands Jalila Essaïdi takes the acid test: by implanting transgenic spider silk in the human skin and letting a bullet do its work.
..with additional details of Bulletproof Silk:
Imagine a spider silk vest, capable of catching bullets, the modern day equivalent of Genghis Khan’s arrows. Now, let’s take this one step further, why bother with a vest: imagine replacing keratin, the protein responsible for the toughness of the human skin, with this spider silk protein. This is possible by adding the silk producing genes of a spider to the genome of a human: creating a bulletproof human.

Science-fiction? Maybe, but we can get a feeling of what this transhumanistic idea would be like by letting a bulletproof matrix of spider silk merge with an in vitro human skin.
Result: don't get rid of your Kevlar vest yet.
posted by cenoxo at 8:16 PM on May 7, 2012

Oh Proteins! Is there anything you can't do?
posted by benito.strauss at 11:45 AM on May 8, 2012

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