Science Finds A Way To Make Bulletproof Silk

We typically think of silk as a soft, delicate fabric, difficult to wash and easy to destroy. But scientist Randy Lewis, in collaboration with Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi, found a way to transform silk into a bulletproof skin-like material. Okay, great. So what? Well, the idea is that the pair’s early experiments will one day evolve into a synthetic human skin product — for use with burn patients — and help create artificial tendons and ligaments.

The silk skin (pictured) was created using genetically modified silk worms, which had been injected with spider genes. Spider silk is known to be five times stronger than steel. “Randy and I were moved by the same drive I think, curiosity about the outcome of the project,” said Essaidi. “Both the artist and scientist are inherently curious beings.”And yes, bulletproof vests and such already exist. But what if we had the ability to produce bulletproof-ness in our own skin? “If human skin would be able to produce this thread, would we be protected from bullets?” Essaidi wrote on her blog. “I want to explore the social, political, ethical and cultural issues surrounding safety in a world with access to new biotechnologies.”

Rad. [Phys Org]

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