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Like an engineer accounting for a skyscraper swaying in the wind, Madagascar's Darwin's bark spider (Caerostris darwini) spins enormous, river-spanning webs that stretch and contract as the trees to which they're anchored bend this way and that. A new study finds that this spider's silk is the toughest biomaterial yet discovered.

All spiders' silk is exceptionally tough, which is the term structural scientists use for the combination of a material's strength—how much weight it can bear before snapping—and elasticity. Fiber for fiber, spider silk is stronger and more elastic than even the synthetic material Kevlar, which is widely used in bulletproof vests. Understanding the properties of spider silk could help engineers synthesize even tougher, lighter-weight materials. For the best results, says Ingi Agnarsson, an entomologist at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan and the new study's lead author, scientists must figure out which spiders weave the toughest webs.

It goes without saying that synthetically reproducing this bio-material would revolutionize the textile industry.  To read the rest of the article, click here.
Category: Science