It has been already more than 40 years since spider web amazes everyone, and it is still a mystery for the scientists who for the first time are trying to develop a synthetic web similar to the original.
Spider web has a few unique features that make it one of the most fascinating things in the world. Besides being very hard to break apart, it stays taut in the wind and traps any insects that come into contact with it.
After studying the sticky substance which traps the insects and keeps the web from not breaking, the scientists have come up with a solution to replicate it in the lab using a ‘liquid wire’ with most of the properties of a spider web.
The reason why the web bends in the wind is that its fibers are covered in a watery glue, which increases the resistance of the web and also traps the flies. Scientists from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France and the University of Oxford in the UK managed to develop a type of fiber similar to the original.
The synthetic wires can compress like a liquid and extend like a solid material thanks to a plastic filament on which the group of experts used tiny drops of oil to obtain the effect. Plus, they found out that the correct balance between droplet surface and fiber elasticity was the secret.
According to Hervé Elettro from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, the web may now offer the world a tremendous amount of medicine, engineering and materials whereas for the spider it is only an ingenious trap.
One of the researchers, Fritz Vollrath from Oxford, explained that besides making the web sticky and also catching the insects, the glue drops help each thread of the spider web always to stay tight no matter what.
Thanks to this breakthrough, scientists believe that they can now use this new liquid wire technology for many purposes. First, they can develop hybrid solid-liquid materials which will be very useful in the biotechnology field.
Second, they could use the wire in the microfabrication of miniature motors and other complex structures. All these significant developments regarding the spider web are going to bring a great improvement in the future of technology.
Image Source:The Animal Globe