Researchers Create Self-Spooling Liquid Wire Inspired by Spider Silk

Have you ever thought why spider silk remains taut even when stretched? The answer was quite a mystery till now. Some Scientists say that they have solved the puzzle of the spider silk.

They published a new paper in Journal PNAS, which explains why the spider silk never sags. It’s because of the tiny droplets of “watery glue” that coat the spider silk, reels in the loose thread and keep it from stretching or sagging just like a spool, maintaining a perfect balance between the surface tension of the sticky droplets and the elasticity of the silk.

A team of researchers from Oxford University and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie took it as an inspiration and were able to recreate the artificial spider silk using plastic filaments coated in oil droplets. The team calls it the “liquid wire.” This system acted just like the original spider silk, by reeling and unreeling inside the oil droplets with spools of filament, as the thread expanded and consolidated.

“Our bio-inspired hybrid threads could be manufactured from virtually any components,” says co-author Dr. Hervé Elettro of Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. “These new insights could lead to a wide range of applications, such as microfabrication of complex structures, reversible micro-motors, or self-tensioned stretchable systems.”

For around 40 years this spider silk has been known as a mysterious material. And as the mystery has begun to unfold, we can hope that it would have a vast amount to offer to the worlds of materials, medicine, and engineering.

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