Spider silk conducts heat better than silicon

There are gods organic conductors that could open new horizons in the field of photovoltaics, among these there is the silk produced by the spider. The spider webs turned out to be gods conductors of heat better than silicon, aluminum and pure iron!

Just a few days ago we told you about photovoltaic roofing systems with amorphous silicon, the research published byIowa State University. In research it stands out as a organic conductor “Simple” as a spider's web can be, it manages to conduct heat better than conductors conventional.

Spider silk is great conductor of heat, works 1000 times better than silk produced by the worm and 800 times better than all other organic fabrics. Anyone who believes that this is a futile discovery is very wrong. Until now, the world was stuck in the concept that biological materials are bad thermal conductors. The discovery will revolutionize conventional thinking of the low thermal conductivity of organic materials, which, just like silicon and aluminum, will be able to take part in new thermal buildings and products.

Leading the research was scientist Xinwei Wang, associate professor of mechanical engineering at theIowa State University. Professor Wang wished to bring eight spiders of the Nephila Clavipes species to his laboratory. By feeding the spiders with crickets and other natural foods, the spiders began to produce webs and so Wang began his studies on the thermal conductivity of these spinning mills. Wang and his team researched organic conductors, i.e. biological materials that can effectively transfer heat.

The organic matter produced by the spider, the so-called "Spider web“, It has some particular characteristics: it is very strong, resistant, elastic, only four microns thick. A cobweb thread is much thinner than a hair that is 60 microns thick, but much more elastic.

Professor Wang's research was supported in part by the Army Research Office and the National Sience Fonudation. According to the results, the spider silk conducts heat at the rate of 416 watts per Kelvin meter, which is excellent if you consider that copper has a thermal conductivity 401 watts per Kelvin meter.

Another important factor is dictated by elasticity: conventional materials usually lose thermal conductivity when they are stretched, while the spider's web, when stretched - stretches - increases the conductivity of heat by 20%.

The applications for the spider's web? In electronics soft materials could be developed for the tuning of the thermal conductivity, but other sectors of the market could also enjoy this discovery, everyday items such as bandages, gloves and coats. One could think of developing a new fabric suitable for heat.

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edited by Anna De Simone

Video: The Ensnaring Strands of Spider Silk (January 2022).