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Musings On Spider Silk & Space Elevators - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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October 15th, 2010

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04:03 am - Musings On Spider Silk & Space Elevators
So, I recently ran into the fact that silkworms have been genetically engineered to produce spider silk. This engineered silk is 80% as strong as normal spider silk and close to the strength of Kevlar. Of course, the utterly horrifying looking Darwin's Bark spider has silk that's 10 x as strong as kevlar.

That last bit of data got me thinking. If you could create spider silk 4 times as strong as that spider silk, then it would be strong enough to make into a space elevator. Even better, the mass of silk needed to build a space elevator (see page 5, top of first paragraph), if you could cause silk worms to produce a material 4 times as strong as the strongest spider silk, would equal 1/1000th of China's yearly silk production. Perhaps in a few decades someone will build a space elevator using silk created by genetically engineered silkworms.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 15th, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
muhauhauhahahahahaaa SPACE ELEVATOR!!!
[User Picture]
Date:October 16th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
I'm still not happy with the fact that the silkworms get boiled alive; maybe they can come up with a way to use post-hatching silk while they're engineering all this?
[User Picture]
Date:October 16th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
Agreed. This would be ideal for several reasons, not the least of which being that you'd want it to spin more silk than just what's necessary for its cocoon. If possible, you'd want something that would basically eat and spin, and then after a while change into a moth and make more of its kind.
[User Picture]
Date:October 16th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't want to bump into one of those bark spiders, but I think it's actually kind of cute for a spider.
[User Picture]
Date:October 16th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, I would love that!

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