What are spider webs made of? Paul & Jo
A. Spider webs are made of special spider silk which is the
strongest fibre known to man.
It is five times as strong as steel and is
also stronger and more elastic than Kevlar, the material used in bullet-proof vests.
The strongest of all spider silk is produced by the Golden Orb Weaving
spider. Spiders make silk using silk glands in their abdomens. The silk is mostly made up of
the proteins fibroin and sericin. (Another natural fibre
that is made up of protein is your hair — but it is made of the protein
Scientists are not sure how the silk is constructed because strands of
spider silk are so tiny but they understand a lot about the protein
molecules in spider silk. A single strand that measures 3-5 microns
across may be made up of thousands of individual sub-strands that are
too small to be examined by any microscope. (A micron is equal to one
millionth of a metre, or one thousandth of a millimeter.)
its size, and the complex way spiders create the silk, it's a very hard
for humans to copy, however for the first time
ever, self-assembled spider web fibres, which are much stronger than
silk spun by silkworms, have been created under laboratory conditions
outside of the bodies of spiders. This was accomplished by scientists at
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and from Germany and England.
This new spider thread will be used for for the
manufacturing of bulletproof vests, surgical thread, micro-conductors,
optical fibers, fishing rods, and even new types of clothing.
More info on spider silk here -