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For Super-Tough Spider Silk, Just Add Titanium 53

A team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Germany has been experimenting with ways to infuse biopolymers with different kinds of metals. Finding some success with their tests on spider silk, the team was able to improve the tensile strength of the fibers, increasing the amount of energy required to break a strand as much as ten times. "Spider silk is not a practical engineering material, but materials scientists are trying to produce artificial fibers that mimic its properties. If they succeed, the result could be super-tough textiles. Knez thinks the technique has more immediate potential for toughening other biomaterials such as collagen. 'Mechanically improving collagen using our technique might open several new possible applications, like artificial tendons.'"
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For Super-Tough Spider Silk, Just Add Titanium

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  • Nexia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Baby Duck ( 176251 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @07:07PM (#27793915) Homepage

    Nexia Biotechnology used to breed genetically modified goats that produce Golden Orb spider silk proteins in their milk glands. They would milk the goats like normal, sift the proteins out, and then mechanically spin the threads. They wanted to use it for medical sutures, bullet-proof vests, and stuff like that. They eventually wanted to genetically modify plants they could just grind up to get the proteins out of their leaves.

    Anyway, I lost $1000 investing in that company. Seems NANOTUBES could do everything the spider silk could do, only better, and possibly in even more applications.

  • Re:Nexia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted AT slashdot DOT org> on Friday May 01, 2009 @07:44PM (#27794193)

    You mean creepier than adding bacteria and calf stomach-juices to goat milk, letting it stand in the heat until all the milk has transformed into some bacteria-digested firm mass, and then eatin that mass, including the bacteria??

    Maybe you should try making your own food for a change. And without combining a bunch of industrial-strength chemicals. ^^

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev