A team of Chinese and American scientists delved further on the muscle-like properties of spider silk. (Photo : Getty Images)
A team of Chinese and American researchers found a specific kind of spider silk that exhibits the same dynamic movement capabilities found in muscles. Spider silk produced by the Ornithoctonus huwena spider, known to be common in China's Guangxi Province, serves as the subject of their fascination.
The findings, which are published in an article on Applied Physics Letters, describes spider silk as one that is highly sensitive to water, a phenomena that operationalizes its muscle-like abilities.
Ornithoctonus huwena has been deemed by research as unique for its nanoscale-diameter silk-spinning capability.
For a simpler illustration, the researchers said that the spider silk produced by the Ornithoctonus huwena spider induces the shrink-stretch properties of muscles when activated by water.
Hongwei Zhu, a Tsinghua University professor and one of the study's researchers, provides a more elaborate account. Describing that the researchers have applied spider silk to weight-lifting, Zhu noted further intriguing findings.
"The whole process can cover a long distance with a fast speed and high efficiency, and further be rationalized through an analysis of the system's mechanical energy," said Zhu.
Such alludes to the famous ability of one of Marvel's well-loved heroes, Spider-Man, known for his ability to swing from one building to another.
More intriguing is the fact that scientists have been able to recreate spider silk in a laboratory experiment, which introduces the possibility of a real-life Spider Man coming to life.
High-speed imaging has been used to capture the spider silk's flexing fibers through weight-lifting.
Also, the spider silk, as held by a pair of tweezers, have been actuated using water to demonstrate its rapid shrink-stretch abilities.
Much has been explained about water's ability to shrink or stretch spider silk, but the researchers involved in the study basically had this to say: that the spider silk's proteins transform once water is applied due to strong affinity, enabling the material to speedily change its configuration.