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Scientist fiddles with spider silk

Filaments are bundled, processed and played on violin

7:14pm, April 17, 2012

A new kind of violin string creates sounds as soft as silk. And no wonder, since it’s made of spider silk.

The strong-yet-stretchy protein fibers, which already have shown promise in everything from sutures to bulletproof vests, vibrate well when bowed, Shigeyoshi Osaki of Japan’s Nara Medical University reports in the April 13 Physical Review Letters.

Dragline silk can be stronger than steel, pound for pound. Orb-weaving spiders dangle from a single thread of this kind of silk and edge their webs with it. Filaments woven together into a slender rope can hold up a man.

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