For more than a couple of years, researchers have been teasing the media with the possibility of designing a new material based on the spider’s web properties. Now, all those promises became reality: the science of the new liquid material has been presented worldwide.
The Amazing Spider Web
Taking nature as a model, researchers have been mesmerized by the features of the wire created by a spider. Being extremely thin, it can hold on weight much heavier than the one of the spiders. It seems to be always reverting to its original form, although it has such a complicated design.
One of the reasons for such an incredible material behavior is what scientists discovered to be a network of droplets on the surface of each wire. These droplets consist of a substance similar to glue. It helps the spider catch its prey, but also it helps the web to go back to its initial shape.
The tiny drops of glue-like substance are in fact small generators of the wire. They pack inside their liquid substance enough wire material to keep up the lines undamaged even if subjected to high pressure. The droplets release and retract the b with a perfect precision of the form.
The Liquid Material’s Properties
Scientists from both the University of Oxford and the University of Paris have studied the engineering of the spider’s web in hope they would find the secret behind their elegant architecture. The results have proven to be successful, and the findings have been published in a science journal.
The liquid material they will try to replicate will behave exactly as a spider’s web – stretching without any limits and keeping high internal tension. Scientist set up droplets inside silk and created a hybrid material that has both solid and liquid properties, both strength and flexibility.
Another interesting effect of the droplets is the fact that this liquid material seems to be healing itself from all damage. Its ability to reverse to its initial form, the incredible strength and elasticity are the main properties of the newly created material.
The resulting mechanics are fantastic, and this successful replica will hopefully prove to be useful in the fields of materials, in medicine and engineering.
Image Source: Pixabay