The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) announced on June 1 that Ryu Seung-hwa, professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST, succeeded in developing a technique to produce a spider web-like artificial biological fiber using computer modeling.
This study is expected to lay the groundwork for understating the synthesis process of various types of biological fibers and to bring the design and manufacture of web-like artificial biological fibers closer.
Spider webs are as strong as steel and as tough as Kevlar when measured as the energy required to reach the breaking point. However, they are difficult to mass-produce, due to problems with breeding.
Based on predictable modeling, professor Ryu explored numerous kinds of proteins, which were reflected in the design and manufacturing process of artificial spider webs.
The research team examined a change of the protein solution under the condition of sheer flow using the newly-developed computer model. Through this, they found out that amino acid chains of protein were sufficiently long. They also discovered that it is possible to synthesize biological fibers with high strength, stemming from a drastic increase in connectivity between proteins only in the case of a proper proportion of hydrophobic and hydrophilic areas.
Artificial spider webs were successfully created by synthesizing suggested proteins through genetic manipulation of bacteria and the spinning process that replicates hollow fiber.
Since the new material is biocompatible, it will not create any side effects inside the human body. Hence, the material is expected to be used for biomedical purposes. Ultimately, the research team is aiming to make a biomedical fiber especially designed to cause no side effects.