Spider silk may spin bullet-proof material

June 30, 2014 12:00 am | Updated 05:38 am IST - New York:

Soldiers of the future may be wearing bullet-proof material made from spider silk, a new research suggests.

Researchers have genetically engineered silkworms to produce spider silk, and have used the material to create gloves that will soon undergo strength testing.

“Spider silk in nature has truly unique properties. If you think about a spider’s web, it’s designed by nature to intercept an airborne missile — a fly or another flying insect,” Kim Thompson, CEO of Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, based in Lansing, Michigan, said.

The silk naturally elongates and absorbs the energy of the captured prey, Thompson said.

“If you do the mathematical calculations - the weight of the fly, its speed, and the size of the individual fibre you capture it in - the strength-to-weight ratio is off the scale,” Mr. Thompson said.

For soldiers in particular, spider silk could provide a new type of protection beyond the traditional, solid Kevlar vest, ‘Live Science’ reported.

If one silkworm could be genetically engineered to make spider silk, its descendants could carry on that trait forever, he said. PTI

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.