Spinning a new version of spider silk
A team of researchers led by CEE Department Head Markus Buehler has succeeded in producing samples of spider silk, an exceptionally strong and resilient material, in the laboratory. The new synthetic fibers’ proteins were created by genetically modifying bacteria to mimic the traditional proteins produced by spiders. This research, a blend of simulations and experiments, “paves the way for creating new fibers with improved characteristics beyond those of natural silk,” said Buehler. Published this week in the journal Nature Communications, this work presents a new way to generate strong and tough materials from abundant resources and at low energy, and could lead to a variety of new bio-inspired materials – including new composites, or sutures and scaffolding for organ replacements. For the article, please see here.