Materials scientists have been eyeing spider silk as a potential supermaterial for years, but the stuff is notoriously difficult to produce in quantities. Now, recent breakthroughs in the production of synthetic spider silk could see this remarkable substance commercialized, and publicly available, sooner than expected.
Image Credit: AMSilk via C&EN
Spider silk is amazing stuff. Five times stronger than steel and three times stronger than Kevlar, by weight, and with near-unmatched heat-conducting properties, spider silk has potential applications in everything from bullet proof vests to computer electronics. But producing and collecting it is damn challenging. As Chemical & Engineering News' Alex Scott explains: