Spiders and Nanotubes

The team then used a neat trick to introduce carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes into the spider silk. They simply sprayed the spiders with water containing the nanotubes or flakes and then measured the mechanical properties of the silk that the spiders produced.

“We measure a fracture strength up to 5.4 GPa, a Young’s modulus up to 47.8 GPa and a toughness modulus up to 2.1 GPa,” say Lepore and co. “This is the highest toughness modulus for a fibre, surpassing synthetic polymeric high performance fibres (e.g. Kelvar49) and even the current toughest knotted fibers,” they say.

In other words, giving spiders water that is infused with carbon nanotubes makes them weave silk stronger than any known fiber.

Spiders and Nanotubes

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