Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / Scientists spin new version of silk
Scientists spin new version of silk
01
Jun '15
Courtesy: MIT News/researchers
Courtesy: MIT News/researchers
After years of research decoding the complex structure and production of spider silk, researchers have now succeeded in producing samples of this exceptionally strong and resilient material in the laboratory.

The new development could lead to a variety of biomedical materials — from sutures to scaffolding for organ replacements — made from synthesized silk with properties specifically tuned for their intended uses.

The findings have been published this week in the journal Nature Communications by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) Markus Buehler, post-doctorates Shangchao Lin and Seunghwa Ryu, and others at MIT, Tufts University, Boston University, and in Germany, Italy, and the UK.

The research, which involved a combination of simulations and experiments, paves the way for “creating new fibers with improved characteristics” beyond those of natural silk, says Buehler, who is also the department head in CEE. The work, he says, should make it possible to design fibers with specific characteristics of strength, elasticity, and toughness.

The new synthetic fibers’ proteins — the basic building blocks of the material — were created by genetically modifying bacteria to make the proteins normally produced by spiders. These proteins were then extruded through microfluidic channels designed to mimic the effect of an organ, called a spinneret, that spiders use to produce natural silk fibres.

While spider silk has long been recognized as among the strongest known materials, spiders cannot practically be bred to produce harvestable fibers — so this new approach to producing a synthetic, yet spider-like, silk could make such strong and flexible fibers available for biomedical applications. By their nature, spider silks are fully biocompatible and can be used in the body without risk of adverse reactions; they are ultimately simply absorbed by the body.

The researchers’ “spinning” process, in which the constituent proteins dissolved in water are extruded through a tiny opening at a controlled rate, causes the molecules to line up in a way that produces strong fibers. The molecules themselves are a mixture of hydrophobic and hydrophilic compounds, blended so as to naturally align to form fibers much stronger than their constituent parts. “When you spin it, you create very strong bonds in one direction,” Buehler said.

The team found that getting the blend of proteins right was crucial. “We found out that when there was a high proportion of hydrophobic proteins, it would not spin any fibers, it would just make an ugly mass,” said Ryu, who worked on the project as a post-doctorate at MIT and is now an assistant professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. “We had to find the right mix” in order to produce strong fibers, he said.


Must ReadView All

Coats acquires yarn manufacturer Patrick Yarn Mill

Textiles | On 12th Dec 2017

Coats acquires yarn manufacturer Patrick Yarn Mill

Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer, has...

India’s garment imports from Bangladesh up 56% post-GST

Apparel/Garments | On 12th Dec 2017

India’s garment imports from Bangladesh up 56% post-GST

India has imported $87.4 million worth of readymade garments from...

Courtesy: Badger Sportswear

Apparel/Garments | On 12th Dec 2017

Badger Sportswear acquires Alleson Athletic

Badger Sportswear, a leading manufacturer of athletic apparel and...

Interviews View All

Prabu Mohanram
Balavigna Weaving Mills Pvt Ltd

The biggest challenge that the weaving industry faces is high price

Awen Delaval
Samatoa

'Natural fibres are appreciated for traditional authenticity'

Mohammad Mamun Ar Rashid
UL VS Bangladesh Ltd

Productivity, creativity and innovation play a vital role in the growth of ...

Erik Sy

Manila-based CustomThread is a start-up offering premium custom apparel...

C Dhandayuthapani

MAG Solvics Private Limited was established in 1991 to design and develop...

Sugandha Bhardwaj

<div>New Delhi-based Brinjal Designs Pvt Ltd manufactures home furnishing...

Johan Berlin
InvestKonsult Sweden AB

Investkonsult Sweden AB has been buying and selling second-hand textile...

Larry L Kinn
Suominen Corporation

Larry L Kinn, Senior Vice President - Operations Americas of Suominen...

Eric Scholler
Groz-Beckert

The Indian market has huge potential in technical textiles, and by far,...

Igor Chapurin
Chapurin

"Now we can see the Russian trend in international fashion. And Russian...

Sidharth Sinha
Sidharth Sinha

<b>Sidharth Sinha</b> has contributed to the successful rebirth and...

Mike Hoffman
Gildan Activewear SRL

Gildan Activewear, a manufacturer and marketer of branded clothing and...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

December 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

news category


Related Categories:

Planning to Take the Leap towards
Sustainability?

Do you see sustainability as a route to business growth?

Yes No

Do you think the sustainability space has the needed tools and resources available for a business to lead change?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you see sustainability as a route to business growth?

Yes
69.6%
No
12.0%
Skip
18.5%

Total Votes: 92

Do you think adopting a sustainable approach will be a profitable move for your business?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you think the sustainability space has the needed tools and resources available for a business to lead change?

Yes
62.0%
No
30.4%
Skip
7.6%

Total Votes: 92

Do you want the world to know about your sustainability journey and your business’ environmental footprint?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you think adopting a sustainable approach will be a profitable move for your business?

Yes
87.0%
No
9.8%
Skip
3.3%

Total Votes: 92

Thanks for your valuable feedback. Claim your free latest sustainability e-book.

Active Poll

Do you want the world to know about your sustainability journey and your business’ environmental footprint?

Yes
81.5%
No
8.7%
Skip
9.8%

Total Votes: 92


E-News Insight
Subscribe Today and Get the
Latest News Update in Your Mail Box.
Advanced Search