The caterpillars that later transform into silk moths produce very qualitative silk because of feeding on mulberry trees’ leaves. When the caterpillar is ready, the larvae cover themselves into a cocoon built up from the silk produced by the salivary glands. After a period of time, the cocoon falls apart letting the brand new moth face the light. The manufacturers who have become interested in this kind of material modify the silk with the help of antimicrobial compounds and several types of dyes which are being added.
- Scientists had modified the diet of silkworms by adding nanomaterials.
- They figured out that these works produce a stringer thread of silk.
A recent experiment conducted at the Tsinghua University in China revealed that the larvae which were fed nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes, and graphene determined them to create very compelling and high-quality threads of silk. This team of researchers fed the larvae 0.2 percent modified material of the total amount of food they were used to consume. Their special diet influenced them to imply another kind of fabric, a stronger type of silk, to the delight of textile manufacturers.
Some particles of carbon nanotubes and graphene were woven by the caterpillar which formed amazingly strong fibers. The silkworms which were on this modified diet produced stronger and better silk threads. Their silk is even able to conduct electricity. Specialists have started a research which consisted of heating the material to test its resistance. The threads were demonstrated to transmit power after being undergone to high temperatures.
In this way, scientists believe they can help produce a different type of silk. To create this carbon-improved silk, experts have performed this test which was meant to reveal the new use of a modified silk thread. Based on Scientific American, the new product which resulted after the trial is far stronger than the ordinary silk thread, being able to endure with 50% more pressure before falling apart.
The author of the study who published it in Nano Letters has argued that textile industry has become very interested in using this new fabric, which was improved with amazing mechanical attributes and polished appearance. Specialists have created a particular environment for Bombyx mori larvae worms which are currently being tested.
Would you be interested in using this kind of material for your clothes? Do you believe this is softer than regular silk?
Image source: flickr