Metal Injections Make A Spider Silk that Spiderman Would Envy

I love StumbleUpon:

Metal Injections Make A Spider Silk that Spiderman Would Envy

Scientists have managed to make extra-strength spider silk—already notable for having a tensile strength higher than many alloys of steel, even though its comprised entirely of proteins [Ars Technica]—by incorporating small amounts of metal into it. A research team at the Max Planck Institute was inspired by studies showing traces of metals in the toughest parts of some insect body parts. The jaws of leaf-cutter ants and locusts, for example, both contain high levels of zinc, making them particularly stiff and hard [Reuters]. The researchers wanted to try adding metals into existing biological materials, and decided to start with the Araneus spider.

The researchers, whose work is published in Science, used atomic-layer deposition to pulse zinc, titanium, and aluminum ions into spider silk [Technology Review]. The process is used normally to apply a thin film layer of one material onto another, but the researchers found that the metal ions had actually penetrated and reacted with the protein structure of the silk, yielding a material significantly stronger than natural spider silk, though they don’t quite understand how the integration occurred. One of the researchers, Mato Knez, attributes the strengthening effect to the metal’s displacement of hydrogen bonds within the silk’s protein structure…. The team were also able to show that the outer metal coating of the silk was of minor importance in the improvement of strength, and therefore that the phenomena was caused by the metals imbedded in the protein fibres [Chemistry World].

The technique may be useful for manufacturing super-tough textiles and high-tech medical materials, including artificial bones and tendons. “It could make very strong thread for surgical operations” [Reuters], said another of the researchers, Seung-Mo Lee.

Views: 10

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Simply amazin'.

RSS

Forum

LOCATION

Started by Jake LaFort in Small Talk. Last reply by Pope Beanie 22 minutes ago. 13 Replies

Poem: Clergy

Started by Fred Hampton in Religion and the Religious, Atheism and Atheists. Last reply by Gregg RThomas yesterday. 1 Reply

Ernesto Che' Guevara

Started by Fred Hampton in Quotes. Last reply by Unseen 44 minutes ago. 25 Replies

Fred Hampton Is New Here

Started by Fred Hampton in Welcome to Think Atheist. Last reply by Fred Hampton on Tuesday. 8 Replies

Blog Posts

World War 2

Posted by Andrew Brown on March 30, 2017 at 3:30pm 2 Comments

I am Ayaz Nizami

Posted by Noon Alif on March 27, 2017 at 10:30am 15 Comments

© 2017   Created by umar.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service