From spider's silk to your t-shirt

An insite into how spiders are being used to help us


Spiders are currently being used to make very light and strong fabric. This is very good for humans because by having lighter clothes in the summer we can stay cooler and not sweat so much. This is also good because if the fabric is stronger it will prevent from breaking easily.

About spiders

Spiders can be documented back quite far. Most of the early fossil spiders come from the imprints on coal in Europe and North America. Spiders are scientifically known as Araneae. Araneae meaning: An order of Arachnida consisting of the spiders. Spiders are arthropods/arachnids. They are an invertebrate. I know this because they have joined legs, a segmented body and a tough outer layer/exoskeleton.

Their adaptation and how it is being used

Spiders are being used for their silk, it is being used to make light and strong fabrics. It has this adaptation in its body because the spiders silk is so strong it helps the spider when it is moving from place to place and when it is building its web. Also when it is creating a web to catch its prey or building a place to sleep. This is structural because the silk that they use is part of the spider.

This is good for humans because by having lighter clothes then in the summer we can stay cooler and not sweat so much. This is also good because the strong fabric will prevent it from easily breaking.

Problems with using spider silk

Problem: How to generate synthetic spider silk in the lab.

The problem is the spiders silk is naturally produced as a liquid protein that’s produced by a special gland in the spider’s abdomen. Then the spiders using their spinnerets, apply a physical force to rearrange the protein’s molecular structure and turn it into solid silk. So it is very difficult to artificially copy this process.

Possible solution

One solution is to insert orb-weaving spider genes into silk worms. This is done as it is easier to harvest from silk worms than from spiders (partly because many silk worms can be placed in the same container without killing each other.)

Table explaining the strength between Kelvar, steel and Spider silk

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Advantages and disadvantages with this solution


The advantages of this solution include the material being over 4 times stronger than Kevlar and being over 6 times stronger than steel, it weights 1.18-1.36


The silk worms do not have spinnerets so they are not able to change the liquid protein into silk.

How this solution will effect society

Spider silk is a renewable item, this is important because most items (such as oil and coal) are non-renewable and will eventually run out, but spider silk is renewable and as long as the spider doesn’t become extinct neither will the silk



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