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

New Investment for traditional Myanmar textiles, weavers

Textiles | On 21st Oct 2018

New Investment for traditional Myanmar textiles, weavers

Myanmar Artisans Co Ltd, Turquoise Mountain and the DaNa Facility,...

Pak knitwear exporters plan environmental compliance

Textiles | On 21st Oct 2018

Pak knitwear exporters plan environmental compliance

Pakistani manufacturers and exporters of knitwear garments have...

Courtesy: Hyosung

Textiles | On 21st Oct 2018

Hyosung converting spandex plants into smart factories

Hyosung TNC, the textile and trading unit arm of Hyosung, is...

Interviews View All

Stefan Warnaar, Peak to Plateau

Stefan Warnaar
Peak to Plateau

People are willing to pay for quality and performance

Anavila Misra, Anavila Collection

Anavila Misra
Anavila Collection

Fashion shows are also encouraging and highlighting sustainable fashion

Viral Desai, Zenitex Mill Pvt Ltd

Viral Desai
Zenitex Mill Pvt Ltd

Full of green energy

Yash Jain & Sanjeev Jain,

Yash Jain & Sanjeev Jain

Divyam Export, launched about 30 years ago, exports to 15 countries,...

Abhishek Pachauri,

Abhishek Pachauri

Reckon Industries is into manufacturing of textile process house machines, ...

C Dhandayuthapani,

C Dhandayuthapani

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

Mark Brill, Birmingham City University (BCU)

Mark Brill
Birmingham City University (BCU)

<div>A technological breakthrough could see people getting messages about...

Kerem Durdag, Biovation II LLC

Kerem Durdag
Biovation II LLC

Kerem Durdag, CEO, Biovation II LLC, provides an insight into future...

Silke Brand-Kirsch, Schlegel und Partner GmbH

Silke Brand-Kirsch
Schlegel und Partner GmbH

<div>Schlegel und Partner is the market research and consultancy company...

Judy Frater, Somaiya Kala Vidya

Judy Frater
Somaiya Kala Vidya

Among the many honours showered on Frater, including Fulbright and Ford...

Vaanee Bhatia, Gritstones Clothing

Vaanee Bhatia
Gritstones Clothing

<div>Delhi-based Gritstones Clothing offers quality and exemplary style...

Robert Brunner, Devereux

Robert Brunner
Devereux

Golfwear and menswear brand Devereux is set for greener pastures. Robert...

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

Leave your Comments


October 2018

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

news category


Related Categories:

Advanced Search