Have you ever watched a spider spin and marveled at how this little creature can spin such
an amazing web. Have you wondered if you could use and spin its fiber?
Spider silk has incredible tensile strength and elasticity. Per unit weight, spider silk is
stronger than steel. Spider silk is being developed for some unique applications, such as
bulletproof vests, and surgical procedures.
Spider Men Weave Silken Tapestry
Simon Peers and Nicolas Godley spent 4 years collecting spider silk to weave a tapestry.
As It Happens – CBC Radio
An interview with Nicolas Godley, who milked the spiders and wove the tapestry.
Researchers at the
University of BC have found that spiders produce up to seven types of silk. Paul Guerette
describes the mechanical properties of orb-web building spiders that range from Kevlar-like to
rubber-like elastomeric fibers.Each gland of the spider produces a different type of silk,
some become dry outside of the body, while others remain sticky.
Danish scientist, Fritz Vollrath (Discover, October, 1998) a zoologist at the University of
Araneus has discovered that a spider uses a method of processing its fiber that is similar to
that of manufacturing industrial fibers such as nylon. The silk is hardened by acidifying.
Spider silk may one day be used by surgeons as sutures for stitching up wounds.
Forbes.com: Charlotte’s Goat
an article that describes an experiment where Nigerian dwarf goats are synthesizing spider silk
in their mammmary glands.
More interesting facts about this incredible material and some closeup pictures of spider silk
Mutant Silk Worms
By inserting specific spider genes into silkworm chromosomes, silkworm of caterpillars have been grown that produce threads nearly as strong as spider silk.
Golden Spider Silk Fabric
The V&A had a display of the world’s largest pieces of fabric made from spider silk
The Intentional Spinner