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The Advantages of Spider Silk

In addition to spider silk’s potential anti-ballistic qualities, spider silk’s amazing properties could make it the basis of many market disrupting technologies in industrial, military and consumer applications, requiring superior strength, toughness and flexibility.

The Advantages of Spider Silk

• Unequaled combination of elasticity and tensile strength represents technological paradigm shift.
• Genetically engineered spider silk fibers have uses in various applications and markets
• Biodegradable and biocompatible.
• Spider silk production could greatly reduce many of the conventional petroleum based fiber and polymer production process.

High performance technical fibers are currently used in a wide variety of military, industrial, and consumer applications requiring superior strength, toughness and flexibility.

Spider Silk Strength: Stronger Than Steel

Kraig envisions that genetically engineered spider silk, with its superior mechanical characteristics, will surpass the current generation of high-performance fiber. We believe that spider silk is in, some ways, so superior to the materials currently available in the marketplace, that an expansion of demand and market opportunities will follow spider silk’s commercial introduction. For example, the ability of natural spider silk to absorb in excess of 100,000 joules of kinetic energy makes it a potentially ideal material for structural blast protection. The table below illustrates spider silk’s incredible toughness and strength to weight ratios.

Comparison of the Properties of Natural Spider Silk, Kevlar® and Steel

Material Toughness¹Tensile Strength²Weight³
Dragline spider silk120,000-160,0001,100-2,9001.18-1.36
Kevlar®30,000-50,0002,600-4,1001.44
Steel2,000-6,000300-2,0007.84

The Market for Spider Silk

Spider silk has the potential to revolutionize the multi-billion dollar silk industry. The market for raw silk alone is in excess of $5 billion per year. Traditional silk is primarily used to create high quality clothing, however, it does not have many industrial uses. In contrast, the strength and performance that spider silk possesses allows it to be used in multiple industries for various uses other than just clothing. In the medical industry, spider silk could be used as extremely thin sutures for eye or nerve surgery. Spider silk also has the potential to replace Kevlar in body armor. Just one of these markets, technical textiles, which prioritize material performance, generates in excess of $120 billion in annual sales. With Kraig Labs recombinant spider silk technology we have the ability to access this wide range of potential markets.

SPIDER SILK, and RELATED TOPICS, NEWS and VIDEO LINKS

By clicking on the links below, you will be leaving Kraig’s website. Please note that KBLB does not control and is not responsible for the content on such sites.

NBC- Real- Life “Spider-Man” Suits On the Way?

Popular Mechanics- 6 Spider-Silk Superpowers

TED- Cheryl Hayashi: The magnificence of spider silk

Deutsche Welle- Dutch artist creates ‘bulletproof’ skin with spider silk

Science Daily- Spider silk coated with carbon nanotubes has multiple surprising uses

The Telegraph- Spider twist leads to hybrid silk yarn

BBC- Tangled webs: Why scientists want to recreate spider silk

Phys.org- Tough, light and strong: Lessons from nature could lead to the creation of new materials

Phys.org- Eco-friendly optics: Spider silk’s talents harnessed for use in biosensors, lasers, microchips

Phys.org- Spider silk conducts heat as well as metals, study finds

Ed Nieuwenhuys- Spider Silk

Wired- 1 Million Spiders Make Golden Silk for Rare Cloth

FloridaNature.org- Fiber Engineers, Meet Thy Master

Bill’s Channel- WORLD’S STRONGEST SPIDER WEB

The Hindu- Flexible wires from spider silk conduct electricity

NOVA- Smart Material: Spider Silk

University of Notre Dame – Scientists Create Transgenic Silkworms Capable of Producing Spider Silk

Illumin- Biomimetics: Engineering Spider Silk

Medical Daily- Spider Silk Turned Into Electrical Wire Could Pave The Way For ‘Green’ Medical Devices

Daily Mail- Bang – you’re not dead! Amazing video shows bio-engineered ‘bulletproof’ human skin reinforced with spider silk

Science Daily- Genetically engineered spider silk for gene therapy

US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health- Silk as a Biomaterial

TED- FiorenzoOmenetto: Silk, the ancient material of the future

Lab News- Silk Spinning The Genetically Modified Way

Techtextil- North America Returns to Pre-Recession Levels

Gizmodo- A Brief History of Bulletproof

BBC- DuPont awarded $920m over stolen trade secrets

Kevlar

NBC Bay Area – Real-Life “Spider-Man” Suits On the Way?

Seeker – Genetically Engineered Silkworms Spin Like Spiders

Smart Planet – Silkworms on a diet make fluorescent silk, could green the coloring process

Genome News Network – Building a better silkworm with piggyBac

Materials Today – Hybrid silkworms spin stronger spider silk

Composites Manufacturing – The Rise of Bio Composites

Asia Bio Tech – Silkworms Give Spider Silk New Spin

TOXINS INFO LINKS

National Geographic – Great Pacific Garbage PatchBad Plastics- A commonsense guide to toxic plastics in your home, and how to avoid them.

OSHA- Hazardous and Toxic Substances

Body Ecology – Top 6 fabrics you should avoid

BIODEGRADABLE and BIOCOMPATIBLE INFO LINKS

World Wide Fund for Nature – Biodegradability

Tree Hugger – Is silk biodegradable?

Hearts – Surprisingly Compostable Textiles

¹Measured by the energy required to break a continuous filament, expressed in joules per kilogram (J/kg). A .357 caliber bullet has approximately 925 joules of kinetic energy at impact.

²Tensile strength refers to the greatest longitudinal stress the spider silk can bear, measured by force over area in units of newtons per square meter. The measurement here is in millions of pascals.

³In grams per cubic centimeter of material.