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Scientists develop ‘liquid wire’ that exhibits many properties of spider webs
Scientists have developed a ‘liquid wire’ that exhibits many of the properties of spider webs. Spider web is quite strong as it remains taut in the wild and it is a hard trap to break. Any fly of small insect that comes into its contact, gets trapped.
Main reason owing to which a spider web does not sag in the wind is the gossamer fibres that are coated in watery glue. Scientists from the University of Oxford in the UK and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France have tried to mimic it in their own composite fibers.
The synthetic wires made by the researchers have the same features as a spider web. The research team has used oil droplets on a plastic filament to achieve the effect. As per the research team, right balance between fiber elasticity and droplet surface tension was the key.
Study’s co-researcher Hervé Elettro from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, said, “While the web is simply a high-tech trap from the spider's point of view, its properties have a huge amount to offer the worlds of materials, engineering, and medicine”.
For around four decades, spider silk has been known to be a great material for around four decades, but till today, it continues to amaze them, mentioned Elettro. Fellow researcher Fritz Vollrath from Oxford has mentioned that the thousands of small droplets of glue that cover the capture of the spider’s orb web do much more than making the silk sticky and catch the fly.
As per the researchers, the new liquid wire technology could help in the micro-fabrication of complex structures like the construction of miniature motors and creation of stretchable, hybrid solid-liquid materials for all types of purposes in biotechnology.