Health


Super spider silk opens way to nano medical devices


A spider web. Photo - Vince Millett via Flickr under creative commons license

Scientists in the United States said on Tuesday they had coated spider silk with carbon nanotubes, creating a fibre that is not only super-strong but also conducts electricity.

The new thread is three times stronger than untreated spider silk, which weight-for-weight is already one of the strongest substances in Nature, they reported.

The first mooted application is in nano-scale medical devices.

In tests, the prototype has been used as heartbeat monitor and as a piston, able to raise a relatively huge 35 milligrammes using electrical current and humidity to make the thread contract like a muscle.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, is led by Eden Steven of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory n Tallahassee, Florida.

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