The diversity of applications for spider-silk-inspired products is wide because there are so many different strains in nature.
“Most spiders spin more than one type of silk, with each type specialized for a particular task,” Hayashi said. “For example, the frame of an orb web is made from a very strong type of silk while the capture spiral is made from a super stretchy type of silk. Some of the properties of spider silks are truly surprising—dragline silk can conduct heat as well as any metal!”
Researchers have one obstacle to overcome – the large scale production of spider-silk inspired materials.
“Major advances have been made by researchers around the world to efficiently produce synthetic spider silk,” Hayashi said, “Currently, I have to turn down requests from inventors that want pounds of silk to try out their exciting ideas.”