Part 5: Applications of Spider-Silkworms

If it does become viable to mass produce spider-silk using genetically engineered silkworms the implications in the world of materials are staggering.  Spider-silk has a plethora of properties that have a wide range of applications.  Silkworms will, as a domesticated species, make all of it possible.

Spider-silk’s primary properties that make it attractive are it’s tensile strength, high breaking stress, light weight, electrical conductivity when mixed with carbon-nanotubes, and stretchiness.  In addition, some types of silk have anti-bacterial properties and can withstand the temperatures required to sterilize suture material.  This means spider-silk could be used to make stronger and more flexible sutures in surgery.

Spider-silk’s electrical properties have led to research into how the silk could be incorporated into electrical wiring to provide an organic alternative.  This wiring could be used in medical devices in place of non-degradable metal and plastic wiring.  The same silk-nanotube design for wiring is also being used as artificial muscle, which could be used in designing new prosthesis.  In terms of military and police applications, spider-silk could be used in place of Kevlar in bullet-proof vests and body armor to great effect.

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