New synthetic cobweb Steel and Kevlar


Researchers have developed a technology for the production of heavy-duty artificial cobwebs from polymer amyloid proteins with 128 amino acid repetitive sequences.

The set of β-nanocrystals is created by spiders — the key component of the web, which gives it strength and rigidity. They are formed as a result of twisting proteins, and the desired frequency of their formation is difficult to achieve artificially. However, scientists from the University of Washington in St. Louis found a way to solve this problem.

After a number of unsuccessful attempts to recombination of the synthetic web from the modified amino acid sequence of proteins, which gives the fiber new properties while maintaining basic initial advantages, the team decided to use genetic changed bacteria to produce it.

With the help of microorganisms, they obtained a hybrid polymer amyloid protein with 128 repetitive amino acid sequences. Such fibers have a gigapascal strength (measure of the force required for the rupture of the fixed diameter material), superior indicators of steel and kevlar. They are even stronger and tougher some natural cobwebs.

Previously, we also reported on the development of the world’s first material that is impossible.

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