STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Soon, 'Spiderman-like' Super Strong Synthetic Silk

Published: 06th March 2014 02:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th March 2014 02:21 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

Scientists are developing super strong synthetic spider silk, five times stronger than steel, that could stop a speeding train, just like the scene in Hollywood flick 'Spiderman 2'.      

"Spider silk of fantastical, superhero strength is finally speeding towards commercial reality - at least a synthetic version of it is," researchers said.      

The material, which is five times stronger than steel, could be used in products from bulletproof vests to medical implants, according to an article in the magazine Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).            

Scientists said the scene in "Spiderman 2" where Peter Parker halts an out of control passenger train with several strands is not exactly far-fetched.     

"We calculated roughly how thick the fibres were, how many of them he had attached to the walls, how much the locomotive and people weighed, and how fast it appeared to be going," Randy Lewis, professor of biological engineering at Utah State University, said.       

"Spider-Man would have been able to stop that train," said Lewis.   

Spider silk's impressive strength has been studied for years, and scientists have been trying to make a synthetic version of the super-strong protein in the lab, Alex Scott, a senior editor at C&EN, said. For other simpler proteins, scientists have been able to insert relevant genes into bacterial DNA, essentially turning the microorganisms into protein factories. But spider silk has not been so easy to churn out.           

Now, small firms just might have found the right genetic tricks, the article said.   

They are coaxing not just genetically engineered bacteria but also goats, transgenic silkworms and even alfalfa to produce multiple different versions of synthetic spider and spider-silkworm silks.    

One company has even taken their iteration to the market - though theirs is a non-fibre kind of spider silk for use in cosmetics. So far, commercialisation has been on a modest scale.          

However, the research pipeline for synthetic spider silk is very active, and scientists expect that production is right on the verge of scaling up.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp