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Stronger Than Steel

Impressive Spider Webs

The silk that spiders weave their beautifully crafted webs with, is known for being rather strong. If we could manufacture a material similar to their silk on a much larger scale – which scientists have been attempting for years – we would have a light-weight stretchy bulletproof material that would be essential for use as protective gear, during surgery for sutures, and more. Spider silk can be as tiny as 1/1000th the size of a single strand of human hair, this makes it very difficult to study the webbing, which is why scientists often turn to the silk of the Brown Recluse for examination.

The Web of the Brown Recluse

The Brown Recluse earned its name for its shy, reclusive nature. Its silk is naturally woven in a flat, ribbon-like pattern, similar to our industrial supportive cables and, when tested, it was found that, proportionally, the silk of the brown recluse is actually stronger than steel. 

These arachnids even add tiny loops to their silk when constructing their webs. This reinforces the fibers of the web, making it even more resilient to external interference. On average, roughly 500 loops were found per inch on a single strand of silk. 

 Impressive… But Dangerous 

As impressive as this may seem, you won’t be so impressed if you’re startled by a brown recluse under your bathroom sink or in your bedroom closet. These spiders have very venomous bites that require medical attention and, as such, they are NOT good roommates. If you spot a brown recluse in your home, don’t hesitate – call in the professionals right away to protect yourself from these nasty arachnids.  

Citations

Daley, J. (2018) Brown Recluse Silk Is Stronger Than Steel Because It’s Constructed Like a 

Cable, Smithsonian Magazine. SmartNews. Available at: 

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/brown-recluse-silk-made-cable-180970871/ (Accessed: April 2020).