You might ask why we believe that spider silk is one of the most interesting material, here are some arguments.
Fabrics and fibers
Considering spider silks properties, there are a lot of specific applications in the field of fabrics and fibers for material reinforcement or even technical clothing.
The first argument of spider silk is it’s resistance/weight ratio and this is a critical painpoint that has to be solved in our transportation system to improve efficiency. Lighter cars, trains, boats, planes and even rockets would allow us the reduce the energy they need.
It’s not because spiders commonly use silk as “cables” that they only use it this way. Prey wrapping is another major use of one of their silk. We can use this function for many applications : strong, waterproof and anti-microbian films is one of them.
Fibers, bulk materials or resins made of silk can be tailored and functionnalized for specific needs, allowing us to build uner high constraints structures. There are clearly great opportunities for the use of spider silks in construction.
Suturing appears as an evidence and according to specialists, this material would allow much better scarring, but this is only the beginning. Artificial muscles, tendon and ligaments, porous scaffolds long-lasting implants and even regeneration of neuronal cells of mammals. Spider silk when used in making implants and prosthesis not only supports the affected area but also induces healing and regenerative effects in living tissues. Due to its biodegradable nature it degrades naturally inside the body without need of removing it by surgical process.
An other medical application would be drug delivery, because of the biocompatibility and the possibility to adapt the materials to specific needs, spider silk could be used as drugs encapsulation with specific parameters of dissolution for more efficient drug delivery in the organism.
Microbial Control Solutions
Due to its anti-microbial properties, the adaptability of the material and the thinness of the fibers we can produce, spider silk can become a standard in terms of microbial control solutions, once again replacing petrol based materials.
Either for canalisation reinforcement, filtering systems, sedimentation improvement, odour control and many other process can be done using spider silk. We are discovering new applications everyday.
Obviously there are a lot of applications concerning the packagings solutions. The most obvious ones would be in the food industry where spider silk could replace any petrol-based products while increasing the strength of all packaging.
As we said many times, spiders produce different kind of silks to deal with different needs. The glue-like silks they use is a good example of a lesser-known combination : the properties of those adhesives are really impressive and the applications regarding extreme bio-glue are endless.