Spider silk has some amazing properties, with a higher tensile strength than steel (though still half that of Kevlar), while being highly ductile. Forget about bullet-proof vests or web-shooters, when can I wear the stuff… without having to run through the bush with my eyes closed? Turns out the answer is “now”, or at least “soon”, with the US-based Bolt Threads debuting its first spider-silk garment — a tie.
Before you ask, no, Bolt doesn’t have a huge plant somewhere packed with spiders being delicately milked for their crystalline juices. According to the website, the company studied spider silk to figure out exactly what it’s made of and how it’s produced.
Going from the video you’d think they were getting ready to coat some poor dude’s skeleton in adamantium. Though that’s no surprise — the company sent its first tie to comic book mogul Stan Lee.
Anyway, using its research, Bolt concocted its own production process, which scales much, much better than what I can only imagine being the world’s creepiest farm.
Instead, making the silk sounds very much like making booze — with yeast, sugar, salt and water being the main components — a comparison the company itself uses:
We are still refining our recipe, but that’s the gist of it. As we scale, we commit to being completely transparent about the process we use to make our fibers … Our yeast produce silk protein in a liquid form during fermentation — very much like the beer-making process. After some processing, the liquid silk protein can be turned into fiber through wet-spinning, which is the same way fibers like acrylic and rayon are made.
Mmm… delicious, but calling it a “spider silk tie” might not be accurate. “Inspired by” perhaps? I suppose there’s still some novelty in owning one.