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  Life   More Features  04 Sep 2017  Scientists say parachutes could be made from spider

Scientists say parachutes could be made from spider

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : Sep 4, 2017, 7:46 pm IST
Updated : Sep 4, 2017, 7:46 pm IST

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Representational Image. (Photo: Pexels)
 Representational Image. (Photo: Pexels)

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Trento in Italy shows spider webs can play a key role in making better parachutes.

"We already know that there are biominerals present in the protein matrices and hard tissues of insects, which gives them high strength and hardness in their jaws, mandibles, and teeth, for example" lead author Dr Nicola Pugno told the Sunday Morning Herald.

 

"So our study looked at whether spider silk's properties could be 'enhanced' by artificially incorporating various different nanomaterial into the silk's biological protein structures," he added.

For the study, they combined graphene and carbon nanotubes in water to feed to spiders. Graphene is a tough material that is made from carbon atoms in a hexagonal lattice.

By feeding spiders this solution, they discovered it gives them the ability to "spin webbing strong enough to carry a weight of a person", the Daily Mail reported.

When the materials are incorporated into the spider's silk, it produced "webbing five times stronger than normal".

 

This strong silk is much tougher and the strands can withstand 50% more stress before it breaks, Scientific American reported.

Tags: spider webs, spiders, parachutes, science, university of trento, italy, graphene