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Polartec, Kraig to launch fabrics made of spider silk

23
Apr '19
Polartec, Kraig to launch fabrics made of spider silk
Polartec, provider of innovative, sustainable textile solutions, and Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, the biotechnology company working to develop and commercialise spider silk, have teamed up to launch the first fabrics made from spider silk in the market. The material from recombinant spider silk was initially developed for specialised military applications.

These first-of-their-kind materials will eventually service the global market for high performance textiles and apparel.

Among the strongest fibres produced in nature, scalable and cost-effective production of spider silk represents a ‘holy grail’ of material science. Kraig possesses the exclusive right to use patented spider silk gene sequences in silkworms, which is the first way to mass produce these fibres cost effectively and responsibly. (Spiders cannot be raised in colonies and competitors rely on genetically engineered E coli bacteria to make silk, which produces high levels of carbon dioxide in addition to being cost prohibitive.)

“Teaming with an industry leader such as Polartec is a real endorsement of our proprietary approach to unlocking the potential of commercially-produced spider silk,” says Kim Thompson, Kraig Laboratories founder and CEO. “Kraig believes that spider silk, with its superior mechanical characteristics, has the potential to surpass the current generation of high performance fibres.”

These fully renewable, biodegradable and biocompatible ‘super fibres’ are thin, lightweight, flexible, resilient, extraordinarily strong, and display strength-to-weight ratios more comparable to aramid fibres than other current performance fibres. In apparel applications, the possibilities of recombinant spider silks are particularly exciting, realising unprecedented combinations of physical properties such as luxurious feel and breathable comfort with top durability.

In joint development since 2016, Polartec and Kraig are applying the performance characteristics of spider silk into yarns for military-grade textiles.

“This project combines two of our most important innovation missions: providing best-in-class textiles to our nation’s military personnel, and our investment in a fully biodegradable product line,” says Gary Smith, Polartec CEO. “Our partnership with Kraig has the potential to be as revolutionary as when we created the first performance fabrics made from post-consumer recycled plastics in 1993.”

Polartec recently announced its Polartec Eco-Engineering commitment to using 100 per cent biodegradable and recycled materials across its entire product line through another partnership with Unifi and CiCLO. For example, this new standard for sustainable textiles will include the creation of the world’s first fully recycled and biodegradable fleece, other knits, insulation fills and breathable waterproof fabrics. (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


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