On their own, spiders naturally produce some of the strongest threads in the world. However, some scientists from the University of Trento in Italy have found a way to help spiders produce webs that are now the strongest fibers known to mankind. These super webs are even stronger than the synthetic fibers in kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests.
Emiliano Lepore, a mechanical and structural engineer who works at the university, headed the experiment. They gathered 15 Pholcidae spiders, commonly known as “daddy longlegs”, and sprayed them with water that had been infused with graphene flakes and carbon nanotubes. When they measured the new webs with samples from unaltered spiders, they found the new webs were much, much stronger.
The ironic thing is that the scientists are not quite sure how the spiders managed to utilize the carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes. The scientists believe that the sprayed spiders simply ingested the water along with the added materials, but they haven’t been able to prove this straightforward theory. This successful experiment may expand the use of spider silk, which is already a strong material. The fields of medicine, public safety and even manufacturing are the likeliest places where this new webbing will be applied.