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For Super-Tough Spider Silk, Just Add Titanium

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the i'll-take-my-vest-in-mithril-please dept.

Science 53

A team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Germany has been experimenting with ways to infuse biopolymers with different kinds of metals. Finding some success with their tests on spider silk, the team was able to improve the tensile strength of the fibers, increasing the amount of energy required to break a strand as much as ten times. "Spider silk is not a practical engineering material, but materials scientists are trying to produce artificial fibers that mimic its properties. If they succeed, the result could be super-tough textiles. Knez thinks the technique has more immediate potential for toughening other biomaterials such as collagen. 'Mechanically improving collagen using our technique might open several new possible applications, like artificial tendons.'"

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Just Add (-1, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793641)

Spiderman Jizz.
Seriously. Fuck The Movie.
It's Not Spiderman Jizz.
It's Peter Parker's Special Concocktion.

Spiderman (2, Funny)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793647)

Just ask Peter Parker. He can get you a sample of Spideman's webbing, and problem solved.

Re:Spiderman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27793897)

Also, Superman could solve all the world energy problems by spinning a giant dynamo.

Re:Spiderman (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27794389)

And Aquaman could.... Dammit, Aquaman is fucking useless.

Re:Spiderman (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794951)

Hey, Aquaman will be king when global warming finally finishes working! I, for one, welcome our water breathing overlord.

Troller Man, Troller Man (5, Funny)

severoon (536737) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793659)

...does whatever a troller can. Spins a lie, any size, catches n00bs, just like flies, LOOK OUT! Here comes the troller man.

Re:Troller Man, Troller Man (1)

uberjack (1311219) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793819)

Someone's acting awfully aluminum...

Instant (insert wierd thing here), just add ? (2, Informative)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793693)

wait. isn't anything with the word "instant" in have alot of calories and salt.

Re:Instant (insert wierd thing here), just add ? (2)

Rigrig (922033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27798177)

Not necessarily: Dihydrogen Monoxide (the main ingredient of 'Instant water - just add water') can be unhealthy for you in entirely different ways.

(DHMO is also one of the main ingredients of beer, which might explain this post to me when I sober up)

Re:Instant (insert wierd thing here), just add ? (1)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 5 years ago | (#27798895)

Ever tried to eat a super spider web? I bet it's sticky and gummy. On the plus side, though, you don't have to floss afterwards.

why not feed your chinese silk worms with (1, Informative)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793697)

titanium enriched bugs and stuffs.

Re:why not feed your chinese silk worms with (5, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793787)

Can someone tell me which insects contain the most titanium, and where can I get some to feed my pet spider? I've got him weaving me a hammock in my living room, but it isn't up to holding my weight yet. Maybe I'll try mixing titanium dioxide with that damn cornstarch in the kitchen that the moths got into.

Re:why not feed your chinese silk worms with (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794071)

Since you're into experimenting with insects, I'll see if I can dig up a radioactive Spider to bite you.

Re:why not feed your chinese silk worms with (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794315)

Well duh. Just put it in the microwave. Optionally add silver or golden stuff for the extra electro-power and some funny FX. ^^

Re:why not feed your chinese silk worms with (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794429)

If you send me some yellowcake I can just put it in the cornstarch along with the titanium and wait to get bitten for my superpowers.

Re:why not feed your chinese silk worms with (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795091)

Shhhhh. Are you sure you want to post this out in the open? With all the other items in hand, nobody else knows the secret to the Spiderman recipe is cornstarch! ;)

 

Re:why not feed your chinese silk worms with (4, Informative)

Yuan-Lung (582630) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793901)

titanium enriched bugs and stuffs.

Because, the primary diet for silkworms are mulberry leaves.

why not feed your chinese silk worms with (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794377)

titanium enriched mulberry leaves and stuffs?

Re:why not feed your chinese silk worms with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27796113)

I hereby grant you a:

-100, Wet blanket

for your post.

Thanks for commenting!

How? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27793753)

How do I shot web?

Re:How? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794537)

With a rifle, a handgun, or a bow/arrow. Of course a shotgun will likely hit the web, if you just want to shoot it.

But you are asking about how to shot web, hmmmm.

From the old Spiderman Cartoon (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793801)

The one with the vocal group theme song that goes, "Spiderman, Spiderman..." There was a scene where the Rhino charges, and Spiderman holds him back with a web across the street. He says something like, "It's a little special formula of mine...Concentrated Steel!"

But infusing collagen with titanium opens up the possibility of augmented super-soldiers like Nuke from Daredevil. "He's got a variety of plastics in his skin. Doesn't burn easy..." Collagen is a major component of skin. What color is titanium when you mix it with flesh? (Copper is green. Iron is red.) Maybe we'll have a bunch of special forces with skin this color?

Re:From the old Spiderman Cartoon (2, Funny)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793841)

What color is titanium when you mix it with flesh?

It would most likely be bright white, like titanium dioxide. So the super-soldiers of the future will look like they've been doused in suntan lotion.

Call Hot Topic! (Re:From the old Spiderman Cartoon (4, Funny)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793883)

It would most likely be bright white, like titanium dioxide. So the super-soldiers of the future will look like they've been doused in suntan lotion.

It's the special forces Ultra Goths!

Re:Call Hot Topic! (Re:From the old Spiderman Cart (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793953)

I would have gone with some sort of military Japanese porn joke.

Re:Call Hot Topic! (Re:From the old Spiderman Cart (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794295)

The Ministry of Agriculture is not responsible for Titanium Spider Silk. Or is it....?

Re:Call Hot Topic! (Re:From the old Spiderman Cart (1)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795055)

It would most likely be bright white, like titanium dioxide.

Star Wars makes so much more sense now.

Movies really lost something (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793929)

The movies really lost something when they changed the web goop from something Parker creates into something he excretes. eww.

Re:From the old Spiderman Cartoon (2, Interesting)

greyhueofdoubt (1159527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794949)

Fyi, there are many differently-colored copper compounds and even more iron compounds. Iron is especially versatile because of its different oxidation states.

So anyways, TiO2 is white, but it is not something your body could use- it is as inert as glass, basically. simply injecting it into the skin would do nothing except maybe cause some local psoriasis. Getting Ti into the organic side of things would usually require TiCl4, which is colorless, or an ester of Ti (also colorless). TiCl3 is dark red but again, not something your body would be able to do anything with. There simply aren't any biological processes in the body that use Ti.

The one interesting thing about TiO2 that I can come up with would be that if you covered someone with it and imaged them in UV light, they would be almost completely black, as TiO2 (like zinc oxide) converts UV to heat. And that's why it's used in sunblock.

If you want to take over the world I'd focus on lighter, more effective body armor and on capturing the hearts and minds of the young people. Your competition is FOX and Pinnacle Armor.

-b

Re:From the old Spiderman Cartoon (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27798635)

TiCl4 is colorless? Then the show would be more like Alias.

FOX news and Pinnacle Armor? I think of that crowd versus Cartoon Network and Cosplay outfits.

I for one... (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793813)

For now, they're just coating existing webs with a thin film of titanium oxide. Soon, some bright scientist will have the wonderful idea of "hey, if we can just genetically modify the spiders to metabolize titanium and use it in building webs..."

Then the slashdot tags WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong and IForOneWelcomeOurNewInsectOverlords will be back in vogue.

[Yes, I know spiders are arachnids and not insects. Remember, I'm talking about a SLASHDOT tag, okay?]

Re:I for one... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794833)

For now, they're just coating existing webs with a thin film of titanium oxide. Soon, some bright scientist will have the wonderful idea of "hey, if we can just genetically modify the spiders to metabolize titanium and use it in building webs..."

I wish I could find the article, but in that same vein, some scientists were looking at the structure of some microscopic organism's shell and thought "hey, if it can make this cool shell out of organic stuff, lets try feeding it [metal] and see what happens!" Much to their delight, the organism ate up the metal with no problem and used it to build a very complex and strong shell, which can now be used as a nanomaterial (IIRC).

I seriously doubt it'll be that easy with spiders, but the idea isn't that outlandish.

Forget titanium (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793861)

How about using a coltan [wikipedia.org] alloy instead?

--John Henry

Re:Forget titanium (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804287)

Why? Because Ti is far too cheap, easily obtained, and free from African bloodshed?

Re:Forget titanium (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27807121)

And the "--John Henry" [wikipedia.org] line just went *whoosh* [wikipedia.org] over your head.

Nexia (2, Insightful)

Baby Duck (176251) | more than 4 years ago | (#27793915)

Nexia Biotechnology used to breed genetically modified goats that produce Golden Orb spider silk proteins in their milk glands. They would milk the goats like normal, sift the proteins out, and then mechanically spin the threads. They wanted to use it for medical sutures, bullet-proof vests, and stuff like that. They eventually wanted to genetically modify plants they could just grind up to get the proteins out of their leaves.

Anyway, I lost $1000 investing in that company. Seems NANOTUBES could do everything the spider silk could do, only better, and possibly in even more applications.

Re:Nexia (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794039)

Seems NANOTUBES could do everything the spider silk could do, only better, and possibly in even more applications.

Plus nanotubes aren't incredibly creepy.

Re:Nexia (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794193)

You mean creepier than adding bacteria and calf stomach-juices to goat milk, letting it stand in the heat until all the milk has transformed into some bacteria-digested firm mass, and then eatin that mass, including the bacteria??

Maybe you should try making your own food for a change. And without combining a bunch of industrial-strength chemicals. ^^

Re:Nexia (2)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794425)

I would be incredibly disgusted by that if I didn't already know that quantitatively there are more genetically-unrelated organisms in a given human being than that person's own genetically-related cells. Without micro-organisms our digestive tract wouldn't even work, and so micro-organisms working over things like cheese is little more than external pre-digestion. (For that matter so is cooking, which anthropological studies have been linking to be one of the more significant factors in the transition of early humanity from being 'just another primate' to the most advanced animal the biosphere has produced.)

Re:Nexia (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27796355)

Well, see the human body as a country. Of course there are foreigners in it. And some time in the past, everything was foreign. Some foreigners are bad. But most are good. Or they do the dirty jobs. Sounds like a pretty cool and well working system. Better than our countries for sure. :)

Although it would be strange, if our cops would just eat criminals, who themselves would breed like crazy. ^^

About the cooking/fermenting: As long as you do not kill every vitamin and protein in it, or refine stuff until it's something completely unnatural, cooking is Ok... ^^

Re:Nexia (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795131)

You're talking to the wrong guy. I'm vegan. Seriously.

Re:Nexia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795331)

i am a meat eater fuck you

Re:Nexia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27794063)

Seems NANOTUBES could do everything the spider silk could do, only better, and possibly in even more applications.

But they would have to use a series of them, amirite?

Oblig. (3, Funny)

tcolberg (998885) | more than 4 years ago | (#27794215)

I, for one, welcome our eventual titanium web building, eight-legged overlords.

Even more obligatory: (2, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794879)

"Until quite recently, spider silk had the highest tensile strength of any substance known to man, and the name Silksteel pays homage to the arachnid for good reason." -- Commissioner Pravin Lal, U.N. Scientific Survey, on the discovery of Silksteel Alloys

Adamantium silk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27794381)

What will they think of next?

Collagen Lips Now with Titanium (1)

Joe Mucchiello (1030) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794403)

For kisses that last all night.

Also helpful for those folks that catch bullets in their mouth I suppose.

Sweet! (1)

wallywam1 (715057) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794593)

We can we get started on that space elevator?

Hmm... this sounds familiar.. (1)

markana (152984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794667)

Let me get this straight - they're infusing a super-strong metal into biological organisms. Why, oh why does this sound familiar???

Let's just hope they don't give the silkworms claws....

Never mind mithril armor (1)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794981)

Imagine and even lighter weight shirt made of titanisilk. Frodo would be even safer from an orc blade.

well.... (2, Funny)

salesbot (1524011) | more than 5 years ago | (#27796151)

or just add lithium and get over yourself.

Military Applications (1)

KneelBeforeZod (1527235) | more than 5 years ago | (#27796369)

Invisibly thin razor wire for guerrilla warfare. And plenty other applications for an ultra durable flexible material.

Real life Man in the White Suit? (1)

Mad-Bassist (944409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27796585)

If only Alec Guinness could see this!

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