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posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @07:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the carbon-ated-spiders dept.

Spider silk can be made stronger by feeding the spiders that produce the silk aqueous dispersions containing graphene or carbon nanotubes:

[Researchers] in Italy and the UK have found a way to make [spider] silk a lot stronger, using various different spider species and carbon nanotubes or graphene. The research team, led by Professor Nicola Pugno at the University of Trento, Italy, succeeded in having their spiders produce silk with up to three times the strength and ten times the toughness of the regular material.

[...] "We already know that there are biominerals present in in the protein matrices and hard tissues of insects, which gives them high strength and hardness in their jaws, mandibles and teeth, for example. So our study looked at whether spider silk's properties could be 'enhanced' by artificially incorporating various different nanomaterials into the silk's biological protein structures."

To do this, the team exposed three different spider species to water dispersions containing carbon nanotubes or graphene. After collecting the spiders' silk, the team tested its tensile strength and toughness. Professor Pugno said: "We found that the strongest silk the spiders spun had a fracture strength up to 5.4 gigapascals (GPa), and a toughness modulus up to 1,570 joules per gram (J/g). Normal spider silk, by comparison, has a fracture strength of around 1.5 GPa and a toughness modulus of around 150 J/g.

Spider silk reinforced by graphene or carbon nanotubes (DOI: 10.1088/2053-1583/aa7cd3) (DX)

Related: The Strongest Natural Material: Sea Snail Teeth
Synthetic Spider Silk Fiber Created


Original Submission

Related Stories

The Strongest Natural Material: Sea Snail Teeth 28 comments

El Reg reports:

Limpets – a type of aquatic snail – [...]need high strength teeth to scrape algae off rocks. [...] Scientists used atomic force microscopy to pull the teeth apart at the atom level. They found the teeth contain a hard mineral known as goethite, which forms in the limpet as it grows.

[...]Professor Asa Barber from [Portsmouth] University's School of Engineering said: "Until now we thought that spider silk was the strongest biological material because of its super-strength and potential applications in everything from bullet-proof vests to computer electronics but now we have discovered that limpet teeth exhibit a strength that is potentially higher."

The research also discovered that limpet teeth are the same strength no matter what the size. Usually, the bigger a structure, the more prone it is to flaws. Limpet teeth break this rule, as their strength is the same no matter what the size.

These structures could be mimicked and used in high-performance engineering applications such as Formula 1 racing cars, the hulls of boats, and aircraft structures.

[...]The research was published [February 18] in the Royal Society Journal Interface.[1]

[1] That may hold the record for the most scripts on a page with just 38kB of content.

Synthetic Spider Silk Fiber Created 9 comments

Scientists have created a kilometer of synthetic spider silk fiber using spider silk proteins made by genetically engineered bacteria:

Spiders make silk by secreting a protein solution through a narrow duct. As the solution goes through the duct, the pressure makes the proteins link together to make the silk fiber. For the study published today in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, researchers designed a machine that does the same thing using a combination of two natural spider proteins. The resulting material is the strongest artificial spider silk yet. It's almost as good as the real thing, it's biodegradable, and it's pretty cheap to make.

Also at Live Science:

[...] researchers combined spidroin genes from two spider species to create a hybrid spider silk gene called NT2RepCT. The NT2RepCT coded for a completely new protein that combined the best properties from the spidroins of the two species: high solubility and high sensitivity to pH. They then inserted the gene for the hybrid silk protein into the DNA of bacteria, which produced the proteins. In the end, this process produced a highly concentrated solution of spider silk proteins that looked cloudy and viscous, just as real spider silk proteins do inside the silk glands. They then pumped this solution through a thin glass capillary, which mimicked the shearing that produced spider silk fiber in the real world, the researchers wrote in the paper. This process produced 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) of fiber in a 0.26 gallon (1 liter) flask, the researchers reported.

"The as-spun NT2RepCT fibers had a qualitatively similar stress-strain behavior to native spider silk in that they displayed an initial elastic phase up until a yielding point," after which the silk began to deform, the researchers wrote in the paper. Also, while the synthetic spider silk acted much like the real thing, it had lower toughness and tensile strength than its natural counterpart, meaning it breaks more easily.

Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk from a chimeric minispidroin (DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.2269) (DX)


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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @08:17AM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @08:17AM (#555179)

    But if you have to put the carbon nano-tubes up their butts, not really Aryan superior spiders, ya? Lets get right to the issue: Trump is a fucking Nazi, and with great power comes great responsibility, but this fucking yahoo asshole has neither! So who is going to take him out? America cannot survive even a couple more months of a Trump Presidency! I am serious. House! Articles of Impeachment, STAT! Mueller! Bring it on sooner rather than later! Mooch! Tell us what you really know! Help get SoylentNews back to normal, instead of being an alt-right echo chamber of the Mirgantled Bonsoir and jmorris ( insane, certified), and no smarter than 5th grader from Texarkana in Dumbfuck, America. You members, and I use the term loosely, of SoylentNews, you need to get down on your knees for the shitstorm that is about to hit you. Runaway, you might just lose your job, once your are outed, and you have left more than enough clues to dox you, you hillbilly idiot! Khallow the mighty and invincible in his own mind. Don't have job now? Do you think you will ever work as a contractor for a Federal Agency again? Not likely. Oh, if you do, report it here, we can help you with that genetically delivered lack of intelligence you suffer from.

    The main point of those who believe that might makes right is wrong, because if that were the case, there are more of us than there are you! We will defeat you. We will bring you down. This will not prove that you are wrong, but that was never what it was about. We are not going to allow you to thing that prevailing with force makes you right. It does not. Look behind you.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @09:00AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @09:00AM (#555192)

      Off topic, but I'll bite because I'm non partisan and I seriously hope you're just trolling (but I've seen too much of this shit lately for it to bee just trolling).

      I've debated against a few alt-righters recently. You REALLY need to regroup and listen to your enemies, because they can quickly gain a large following if you leverage your advantage in numbers via force. I'm not worried about them now, but if things escalate they may get the upper hand and then their tune may change. You need to come up with some arguments to counter what they're saying because it's not the hateful drivel you leftists told me it was, so I was totally unprepared to debate the alt-right. That puts everyone at a disadvantage except your alt-right "enemies".

      The slogan of the "Nazi" alt-right I ran into was this: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." When asked they said they believed that all people deserve to exist and to advocate for their cultural interests, even white people. They pointed out hate and violence done by groups like LaRaza, Nation of Islam, and BLM. If those groups get a free pass to organize by the left, then they believe that white people on the right ought to have someone in their corner peacefully standing up for them. To be honest, it's hard to argue against this and I can see how it would be immensely attractive to dispossessed whites.

      If you try to counter those arguments with, "Punching Nazis is cool!" then you're falling right into their trap. You're making them the persecuted victim and giving them the sympathy cart right out of the gate. Even if they are Nazis, most people (at least myself and some associates) dismiss claims of Nazism as the term was used too often in this past election. They called the entire right wing Nazis, that term doesn't work well anymore. When you use mis-characterizations like "They think might makes right", when what they're really saying is that "whites make up 8% of the global population" and "globalist elites are trying to destroy their way of life via demographic replacement". Then it makes me reevaluate my left leaning views. Honestly, it's feeling like the democratic party I once knew has becomes something I can barley condone or excuse. I don't want to be deceived by the very party I voted for, asshole. Guess who the people standing on the side lines are going to side with when you try to "defeat" them with violence when they're saying they want to exist. I know it's more than that, but think of the people who don't know any better, or non partisans.

      Imagine you see a guy punch a black dude who's shouting, "Blacks have a right to exist". Who would you side with? Now imagine it's a white person getting punched. Calling them Nazis isn't going to work forever, and arguably it didn't work this past election. Time for a change in strategy. You want to build sympathy for your enemies, "Punching Nazis" is how you do it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @09:32AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @09:32AM (#555198)

        That is really where the issue lies.

        Violence against white males has been done for comedic and non-comedic effect in movies and other media for at least 20 years I can remember.

        At the same time it has marginalized blacks, especially males by having them die first in 'mostly white' movies, and it has body shamed anybody who wasn't buff, 'geek chic' (once that became a popular thing in MSM), or 'hot 'n sexy', outside of a few very narrow exceptions (ellen, oprah, rosie o'donnell, etc. All of whom have basically turned themselves into tools of the 'left wing' establishment, in the same way rush, that infowars guy, megan kelly, and that fox guy, etc have turned themselves into tools of the rightwing media establishment.)

        What people on both the left and right have failed to realize is they have let media's social cues infect them on what is acceptable in the REAL world, not just the fantasy worlds they watch. Just like our parents told us 20-50 years ago (depending on your age) about why they had to limit your television watching, the content of shows, and explain to you why certain events in shows shouldn't be replicated in real life. The problem is: lots of parents just dumped their kids in front of tvs, didn't have those talks, and thought just because they seemed ok the majority of the time that those shows, events etc hadn't affected them. But as the media has spiraled further and further to the left and right, it has become obvious that the boundaries of moral and social acceptability and responsibility have slid far outside whatever should have been culturally acceptable to a neutral third party. But as each echo chamber grew, so did what was acceptable. Things were once fringe or taboo are out in the open.

        If this sounds like one of those creepy teetoler(sp?) speeches, it kind of is. The reason we have cultural stigmas (like excessive drinking, drugs, etc.) isn't for reponsible adults who can handle their liquor, or drugs, or acceptable behavior. It is for the outliers, who without those societal boundaries will keep sliding further and further outside the boundaries of acceptability, broadening them as they do, into potentially harmful behavior both for themselves and the society they exist in. Figuring out where those boundaries should lie is part of both the art and science of shaping society. Sadly it is another lost art that must await a renaissance after these cultural dark ages pass, if they ever manage to. A big if given the technology we are developing, researching, and releasing today. Put in the hands of amoral sociopaths like mentioned above, it will only lead to harm for the development of society on this planet as a whole.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @05:25PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @05:25PM (#555445)

          Violence against white males has been done for comedic and non-comedic effect in movies and other media for at least 20 years I can remember.

          Really good point here! You notice the guy in "Ow, My Balls!" is always a white male? Coincidence? I think not!

      • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Thursday August 17, @10:40AM (1 child)

        by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Thursday August 17, @10:40AM (#555220) Journal

        Possibly a genuine poster but smells too much like an attempt at subtlety by some breitbart sockpuppet. Kindly worded and professes to be both non-partisan and dem-leaning, but nonetheless carries an implicit assumption that politics are and should be divided along racial lines, while gently pushing the latest narrative from the Alt-Right thought factory which is that " The Big Bad Left believes that everyone to the right of them is a Nazi and wants to exterminate all whites!" which is, of course, complete bullshit. 6/10 for effort though.

        You do realise that the logical conclusion of this kind of scaremongering is a new civil war. Something that Steve Bannon has long fantasised about.

        white people on the right ought to have someone in their corner peacefully standing up for them

        Couldn't help picking this out, which would be funny, if it weren't so sick, in the context of the weekend's terrorist attack.

        • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday August 17, @12:51PM

          by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17, @12:51PM (#555264) Journal

          I don't know why they'd go to the effort, here. There aren't huge crowds, many of whom are clamoring for white power. There are a couple, but we all know who they are.

          Your caution is justified, though. 70 years of Hollywood and the media have so distorted and mischaracterized and demonized white supremacists as cartoon cutouts who are only violent and blunt, that they miss the much more dangerous subtleties that can insinuate themselves and grow into a movement. Go watch a David Duke video. The guy is calm and reasonable. He has a point, and he makes it well. You find yourself agreeing with him, except for the warning in your heart.

          Or go watch Triumph of the Will, and learn that the Nazis were not the two-dimensional, Manichaean figures certain parties would like us to believe. They had a real world view and a real plan and they were able to seduce a nation of highly-educated and skilled people for a reason; in other words, they didn't mindlessly beat people into surrender, they cajoled and seduced and only used violence when they could make it look like self-defense.

          So that's the leading edge of white supremacy (or any supremacy, for that matter) that we have to turn back if we don't want to slide into the horrors that follow. That's what we have to defend against, and generations of indoctrination on the matter have left us nearly totally unequipped to recognize it and counter it.

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Thursday August 17, @11:29PM

        by realDonaldTrump (6614) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17, @11:29PM (#555622) Homepage Journal

        The alt-left has nothing to say. They don't want to talk. We saw it in Charlottesville, last weekend. They show up with hairspray and a lighter. And they use that as a flame thrower. Which is absolutely devastating to the ozone. I hear where they don't want me to use hairspray. They want me to use the pump. Because the other one – which I really like better than going "bing, bing, bing," and then it comes out in big globs, right? And it's stuck in your hair and you say, "Oh my God, I gotta take a shower again! My hair's all screwed up!" Right? I wanna use hairspray! I have a lot, a lot of hair, I need hairspray. They say, "Don't use hairspray. It's bad for the ozone!" But the alt-left uses the spray. As the ozone falls from the sky. 🇺🇸

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18, @09:54AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18, @09:54AM (#555801)

        Not sure what you are doing, either.

        for it to bee just trolling).

        I have heard of fishing flies that were made to look like bees, but seriously, fly fishing is just to subtle and nuanced to have any use here on SolyentNews. I suggest you go read "A River Runs Through It". McLean. Good book.

        So, trolling involves flashy lures, spinners and spoons and what not. But in this particular fishing hole, dynamite seems to be the preferred method. Drop the bomb, see what floats up. More often than not stunned jmorris, or incapacitated Buzzard. Neither of which is really worth keeping.

        Oh, and it is always alright to punch a Nazi! Doesn't matter what color of Nazi, just punch him. We need to protect the children, you know.

  • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Thursday August 17, @08:22AM (4 children)

    by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17, @08:22AM (#555181)

    So now we just need to bio-engineer Really Large spiders so the production can be scaled up better.

    If you're arachnophobic, this is Not A Good Thing...

    (Is that Shelob I see lurking in the background there?)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @08:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @08:45AM (#555188)

      Another Shelob! Well, what are you waiting for? Throw another shrimp on the barbie! Aussies ain't afeared o' no creepy crawlies, mate!

    • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Thursday August 17, @08:47AM

      by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Thursday August 17, @08:47AM (#555189) Journal

      No large spiders are needed. Just one regular sized radioactive spider, and a mouthy teenage kid.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @09:28AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @09:28AM (#555197)
      Shelob? You want Ungoliant the Unlight [wikipedia.org]! Tolkien it seems was bitten by a tarantula as a child and this experience may have influenced him to create such delightfully horrid villains.
      • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Thursday August 17, @01:57PM

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17, @01:57PM (#555300)

        Just think what might have been if it were a radioactive tarantula...

  • (Score: 2, Disagree) by c0lo on Thursday August 17, @10:28AM (3 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 17, @10:28AM (#555217)

    (checking once again - spiders, yeap, nanotubes yeap. Ok, this time is not the wrong story)

    https://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid=21825¬e=&title=Nanotube+spider+silk+article+is+a+dupe+from+2015. [soylentnews.org] [soylentnews.org]

    Really really now - isn't a good time to implement a "pre-editing comments section"? Not the greensite's Firehose with modding the stories, but something to crowd-source the editorializing process.
    I don't know, something like the "Soylenter Mechanical editor" - not editors by themselves, but can contribute with corrections, additions, dupe signalling, "this is big, should be breaking, push it sooner".

    Chime in.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday August 17, @10:31AM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday August 17, @10:31AM (#555219) Journal

      LETTER
      Spider silk reinforced by graphene or carbon nanotubes
      Emiliano Lepore1, Federico Bosia2, Francesco Bonaccorso3,4, Matteo Bruna3, Simone Taioli5,6, Giovanni Garberoglio5, Andrea C Ferrari3 and Nicola Maria Pugno1,7,8
      Published 14 August 2017 • © 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd
      2D Materials, Volume 4, Number 3

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @01:02PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @01:02PM (#555268)

    Think very carefully of the implications: All that it took to embed strong artificial material into a natural secretion of an animal's gland was to feed it to it!

    Could it be that, contrary to what we all feared, ingesting carbon nano-particles could be reinforcing, rather then damaging, to living tissues?

    If we could attach binding amino acids to a nano tubes scaffolding, could we get more strong more durable tendons, muscles, membranes, etc in living organisms?

    Perhaps even in (super-) humans? All right, now I am almost repeating myself - that really has a great comic book potential.

    But is that all there is?

    Nevertheless, on the other hand, spider silk with carbon nanotubes in it is just another way to say "inferior chopped-up carbon nanotube fiber, spliced together with proteins from spider silk". It won't get us nearer to producing strong continuous monofilament we need for space elevator and other techno-dreams waiting for that material to appear. So far, it is Yay for spiders, they'll get to weave enormous webs and fly many miles further in the wind, but still not cigar for us, except maybe that we might get a way to enhance our longevity, toughness and strength, once we make it for lab mice (again), then pigs, then primates, and finally for crazy scientists.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday August 17, @04:41PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 17, @04:41PM (#555408)

      Either that, or you need new sewer pipes and extra-strength condoms.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @09:00PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, @09:00PM (#555563)

    I can't wait to find some of these new, enhanced, five-times-stronger spiderwebs with my face.

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