Spider silks, like the silks of other arthropods, use proteins are the structural components and water as the solvent.
Protein and water combine and separate - under ambient pressures and temperatures - to make the silk thread, which can be so tough that it outperforms even the best man-made fibres.
So far, our studies of spider silks and webs have lead us to a number of important discoveries ranging from tunable nano-scale composite structures (that absorb energy hydro-electrically) to complex self-assembling micro-machines (that absorb energy mechanically) all the way to the building of complex webs cleverly engineered to absorb energy aerodynamically.
All these ways-and-means are the works Nature’s 'Design by Evolution', which is a powerful albeit rather time consuming process, to create and fabricate highly functional - and energy efficient - materials, devices and systems.
Importantly, silks are not only interesting as highly evolved natural materials but seem to have a bright future both as models to guide our understanding of energy efficient bio-polymers but also as prototype models to guide the design of totally novel polymer systems be it for medicine or engineering.
Tea/Coffee from 18:00 and afterwards.