A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Atomic Layer Deposition Like Wolverine's
Super-strong spider silk has been produced using a process that sounds like it might produce a superhero itself - atomic layer deposition. The researchers were inspired by nature; mandibles of leaf-cutter ants and locusts are peppered with zinc, making them stronger and more durable.
(Overview of ALD spider silk)
The team fired beams of ionised metal compounds at lengths of silk from the orb-weaving spider Araneus diatematus using a technology called atomic layer deposition (ALD). As well as coating each silk fibre in a fine metal oxide, some metal ions penetrated the fibre.They tried zinc, aluminium and titanium compounds, all of which improved the mechanical properties of the silk.
"With all three metals, the fibres can hold three to four times as much weight," says Knez. The fibres also become stretchier, so that their toughness - the energy needed to break a strand - rises even more. "The work needed to break the fibre rises tenfold with titanium, ninefold with aluminium and fivefold with zinc," he says.
The developers of this technique, Seung-Mo Lee and Mato Knez at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle, Germany, also believe that it can be used to strengthen other biomaterials. Like bones, for example - or extendable claws. Like those of Wolverine, perhaps?
In the new X-Men movie, we see how Wolverine becomes unstoppable. Adamantium, a rare (fictional) metal derived from meteor remains, is bonded to his biological skeleton. Like the real-life mandibles of leaf-cutter ants, his bones become much harder when metal is bonded to the original structure.
(Wolverine has adamantium applied to the skull)
Also, this is good news for the many law enforcement personnel who can't wait to throw super-strong webs at evil doers (see T-34 Security Robot Throws Nets and NET-2000 Shooting Net Rod Nails Perps ).
If you want to hang from a web like Spiderman, you're going to need ALD spider silk.
(Spidey waits patiently, suspended in web)
From For super-tough spider silk, just add titanium ; thanks to Zac for recommending this story, for which I finally figured out the X-men connection.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/5/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )
Related News Stories -
MXenes - Atomic-Thin Metal Sheets Now Easier To Make
'...a rolled-up sheet of a thin, dark metal strange to them.' - John Edwards, 1934.
Do We Still Need Orbiting Factories?
'... his contract with Space Industries required him to work summers in their orbital factory complex.' - Jerry Pournelle, 1976.
MIT Self-Assembling Reprogrammable Materials
'Faster the cubes moved; faster the circle revolved; the pyramids raised themselves, stood bolt upright on their square bases...' - Abraham Merritt, 1920.
Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!' - Gene Roddenberry, 1968.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Tesla's Optimus Robot Now Sorts Objects (I've Got A Job In Mind)
'Then they press one of these here thirteen buttons...'
CADRE Robots To Work In Teams On Other Planets
'You're a stable, rock-bottom mining robot, except that you're equipped to handle six subsidiaries in direct coordination...'
18 Wheels Mutant Centipede Vehicle
'If a centipede were a dinosaur and made of metal to boot...'
Octopus Suckers Inspire Transdermal Patches
'...a capsule which he placed against his wrist.'
Robotic Hands Have More Than One Use
'The crawling, exploring object was V-Stephen's surgeon-hand...'
Space Weather To Universe Weather
'It radiates outward in a cone which, by the time it has reached our section of space, is many lightyears across.'
That's MOXIE! Terraforming Mars Baby Steps
'Drake was the young spatial engineer he employed to terraform the little rock.'
'No, I'm Not A Robot' - Robot
'... with a weird simulation of life, the ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'
Missing Jet Finally Found
Ah, what could have been - still in the future.
Philippines Coast Guard Cuts Chinese Barrier
'Each of the four areas is enclosed by a sonic wall...'
Barista Robot Perfects Latte Swirl With Multi-DOF Wriggle
'It's done with a flip of the third joint of the tentacle on the down beat.'
Vendetta 2023 All-Terrain Skateboard Could Use Neal Stephenson's Smartwheels
'If you surf over a bump... If you surf over a pothole...'
Safe Street Rebel Autonomous Vehicle Luddites And Schachner's 1931 Robot-Deranger
'Then the spreading beam of the deranging ray struck them, and they stood an instant transfixed...'
The Electric Balance Bicycle And The Decline Of Western Civilization
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'
'Droplet' Battery Microscale Power Pack
'...a power pack the size of a pea.'
ARX-5 Doing Robot Arm Dancing
It's Data's day - at last.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories