I’m always amazed by the ideas innovators can glean from nature. It’s called biomimicry, and some of our brightest new technologies are being enhanced by animals and plants. (See my blog post on this here)
Case in point, spiders. Scientists studying the threads spun by brown recluse spiders: have learned that these web threads are flat, and have the strength of industrial-grade fabric like Kevlar.
Spiders create their webs via organs called spinnerets to produce and sew silk strands together. But what many don’t realize is that these threads are further divided into parts which enable the spider to form loops with the thread similar to how sewing machines do it.
Scientists have yet to apply this technology specifically to reinforce synthetic materials. Past attempts failed because the loops have not been strong enough. However, new studies are offering new insights into how we might develop fibers stronger than synthetics. Here’s a video on how these brown spiders do their job: