Super spider silk opens way to nano medical devices

September 10, 2013

Scientists in the United States said on Tuesday they had coated spider silk with carbon nanotubes, creating a fibre that is not only super-strong but also conducts electricity.

The new thread is three times stronger than untreated , which weight-for-weight is already one of the strongest substances in Nature, they reported.

The first mooted application is in nano-scale medical devices.

In tests, the prototype has been used as heartbeat monitor and as a piston, able to raise a relatively huge 35 milligrammes using electrical current and humidity to make the thread contract like a muscle.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, is led by Eden Steven of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory n Tallahassee, Florida.

Explore further: Spider silk is a wonder of nature, but it's not stronger than steel

More information: Paper: dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms3435

Related Stories

Silkworms spinning spider webs

January 3, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- A spiders silk is strong and more elastic and has a large range of possible medical applications. However, spiders have a history of being territorial and prone to cannibalism, so the idea of having a large ...

Most stretchable spider silk reported

February 8, 2012

The egg sac silk of the cocoon stalk of the cave spider Meta menardi is the most stretchable egg sac silk yet tested, according to a study published Feb. 8 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

Scientists develop ultra-thin solar cells

April 4, 2012

Austrian and Japanese researchers on Wednesday unveiled solar cells thinner than a thread of spider silk that are flexible enough to be wrapped around a single human hair.

Hagfish slime as a model for tomorrow's natural fabrics

November 28, 2012

Nylon, Kevlar and other synthetic fabrics: Step aside. If new scientific research pans out, people may be sporting shirts, blouses and other garments made from fibers modeled after those in the icky, super-strong slime from ...

Recommended for you

Slippery liquid surfaces confuse mussels

August 17, 2017

It all began with a bet at a conference in Italy in 2013. Nicolas Vogel, Ph.D., then a postdoctoral fellow in Joanna Aizenberg's lab at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard's ...

Researchers find a way to combat pharmacoterrorism

August 17, 2017

Using a novel molecular analysis technique, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified the chemical underpinnings of Captagon, also known as fenethylline, an illegal amphetamine-type stimulant that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.