Out 14, 2016
Silkworms were fed graphene to produce 'super silk' and it could be the future of wearables
The silk was twice as strong, could cope with 50% more stress before degrading and was shown to be conductive.
Graphene just keeps getting better and better. The so-called super material – a one-atom-thick layer of carbon that has proven to be incredibly strong, flexible, light and conductive – has now been fed to larval silkworms which then created "mechanically enhanced silk".
The find could have huge implications for the future of wearables, considering the conductive material could be weaved into textiles, and our clothing embedded with technology. We would no longer have to wear devices that are so often bulky and conspicuous but would have individualised garments concealing the tech.
Silk is already pretty strong, and also one of the most desirable fabrics in the world, so it was the obvious choice for the experiment carried out by a team from Tsinghua University. They fed the silkworms mulberry leaves coated in a solution made up with 0.2 per cent of carbon nanotubes or graphene, reports the Scientific American.
By Liat Clark