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Worth A Thousand Words: Stretchable Spider Silk

Egg sac of the spider Meta menardi.

Spiderman, watch out! There’s a new, super-strength spider silk in town! Researchers from Politecnico di Torino in Italy performed stress tests on the stalks of silk egg sacs produced by the cave spider, Meta menardi (pictured above), and suggest that it could be the most stretchable spider silk ever tested.

The scientists,  led by Dr. Nicola Pugno, collected 15 egg sacs from different caves in Piedmont (a north-western region of Italy), and used a tensile testing machine to pull on the stalk of the sac until the fibers broke. They recorded that silk strands produced by these spiders can stretch up to 7.5 times their original length, which could bode well for future understanding of nano-materials.

The researchers claim that such results may be linked to the fact that these egg sacs were collected from nature, and thus more reflective of actual stresses, as opposed to silk that may have been produced in a lab.

Read the full article here.

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