Investigatory Project
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Spider Silk Textile Fiber

Abstract

This research project is aimed at testing the possibility of using spiders as an alternative source of silk.

The spiders used for this research are members of the species Nephila clavipes collected at the picnic grove inside the grounds of the Philippine Science High School. The silk was manually collected from the insect’s body without harming it. The silk was then twisted and entwined with the others to produce the thread. The thread was tested and compared with commercial silk based on its textile properties, like breaking point and elongation limit. A survey was conducted to compare its luster, texture, color, and general acceptability with that of commercial silk.

Introduction

Since antiquity, silk has been regarded as the “queen of fibers” not only for aesthetic but also for practical reasons. Silk is elastic, highly resilient, lustrous, smooth, and light in weight. It is also considered one of the strongest natural fibers, even stronger than some kinds of steel with the same diameter. When made into textile, it resists wrinkling and is waterproof.

A common source of silk that is used commercially is the moth, Bombyx mora. The moth and other silk-producing organisms such as some insects and arachnids possess spinnerets that secrete a protein called fibroin, and which is known to us as silk. However, these organisms are found only in certain parts of the world and produce silk only during their larval stages to create their cocoons. Silkproducing spiders, on the other hand, abound everywhere and produce silk all throughout their life cycle.

Materials & Equipment

Selected References

Work, R.W. The Force Elongation Behavior of Web Fibers and Silks Forcibly Obtained from Orb-Web-Spinning Spiders. Textile Research Journal, 1976.

Further clarification of the procedures and results should be directed to the researchers and adviser.

Researchers
Maribel Amante
Caryl Camiña
Ma. Cristina Santiago
Gamaliel Taya
Sherwin Valencia
Adviser
Ms. Juanita Cruz
Philippine Science High School
Quezon City

 



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