Having looked into how researchers plan to produce more of this incredible material (silk… of course!) I stumbled across another article on the possible uses of silk…
We all know that Silk is widely considered THE luxury material, with it’s glossy finish and soft texture. It’s amino acid make-up offers health and beauty benefits and can keep skin moisturised without feeling greasy. But, along with all of these wonderful benefits, did you know that Silk is one of the strongest materials available to man? A group of scientists at Utah State University have been investigating Silk properties, and how it can be made. What they are doing might surprise you…
The specific type of silk this group have been investigating comefrom the “Golden Orb” spider. This spider has long been known for creating fantastic quality silk, and the first garment created was exhibited in 2009. The silk from this spider has also been known for it’s uses in biotechnology! It’s biocompatability means that tissue rejection is very unlikely, and it has even been known to promote cell growth! These aspects, along with it’s strength, means that it could be the perfect material for future ligament repairs!
All in all, this is a pretty incredible material and so it’s not surprising that some researchers are attempting to optimise it’s production! On considering how best to increase production of this amazing silk, they stumbled across an idea that might surprise you…
Researchers were able to isolate the gene which codes for the production of this silk. This gene is normally found within the spider and is ‘read’ like an instruction manual, creating the silk! Once this gene had been found, researchers decided to insert this gene into another host animal to ‘read’ the code and produce the silk.
And they chose… goats!
Yes… that’s right… this gene has been introduced into some goats, and now they are able to make this silk in their milk! It can then be isolated and retrieved for use in production. Amazing!
So, along with goats producing spider silk, they also discuss the plausibility of the ability of Spider Man to stop a train (as seen in Spider Man 2):
“We actually went through and sort of calculated how much silk he used, how thick it was,” Lewis said.
They looked at the weight and speed of the train, as well as the weight of the passengers inside the train, to determine whether the scene was probable.
“And the answer is, he definitely can stop the train,” he said. There was only one plot hole Lewis found.
“He’d have had to eaten about 80 pounds of beef steak to produce that much silk,” he said.
Silk has been used as a luxury material in a wide range of products for many years, ranging from bed linen to beauty products. It is one of the most luxurious materials on earth, and has a range of beauty benefits too! Here we take a look at celebrity silk dresses and give our top 10, who wore it and where…
Number 10: Cameron Diaz. We all love a good fishtail dress, and Cameron is looking gorgeous in this nude Gucci fishtail dress as she poses on the red carpet of The Oscars 2012.
Number 9: Jo Champa. Looking good in this beautiful white chiffon evening dress on the 2010 Venice Film Festival red carpet. We think this dress is stylish, flattering and classy all rolled into one gorgeous package!
Number 8: Nina Dobrev. Wearing this gorgeous silk gold dress at the Golden Nymph Awards, June 2010, Nina flaunts her smaller frame. Twinned with a ‘messy’ tied-up hairstyle this outfit is “black tie meets casual”.
Number 7: Mila Kunis. She stepped onto the red carpet at the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards in this fiery red lace dress. The colours alone make this dress stand out from the crowd, and with the strapless top and layered skirt, we think this is a perfect way to make a red carpet statement!
Number 6: Jessica Alba. She posed in this gorgeous dress by Sophie Theallet at the Costume Institute Gala 2010. Worn with her hair up, this outfit oozes elegance.
Number 5: Selena Gomez. The youngest of our top-10, Selena wore this gold silk dress on the red carpet at the African Music Awards 2011. With the low-cut top and high leg slit, this dress is the most revealing of our 10, but still classy. We especially love the sash-like middle hanging from the front – gorgeous!
Number 4: Pippa Middleton. An absolute classic, and one of the most talked-about dresses this decade. Pippa made quite a splash in this gorgeous pure white silk lace dress at the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding to Prince William in April 2011. It showcases her figure whilst still being classy – perfect.
Number 3: Kate Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge). One of the most famous dresses of all time, this dress designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen is stunningly beautiful and classy – no wonder it got the royal seal of approval!
Number 2: Rihanna. Although sometimes known for alternative outfits, we think Rihanna got this outfit spot on! Attending the CFDA Fashion Awards 2006, Rihanna looks elegant and classy in this navy blue halter-neck dress.
Number 1: Angelina Jolie. Topping our top 10 chart, the queen of red carpet fashion Angelina looks smoking hot in this lace dress at the 2004 Oscars ceremony. Twinned with a shawl of matching colour, this outfit is classy and smouldering!
Don’t agree? Answer our poll and tell us who you think has the number 1 dress here!
So we have all heard about the benefits of silk – again and again – but no-one really seems to explain HOW silk can help your skin and your hair. Until now! A recent blog post onto the site “silksleep.com” has explained the ‘Science of Silk’ in simple terms, making it easy for everyone to understand!
Apparently, the secrets behind the ‘magic of silk’ lie in the amino acids that are contained in silk. These are the things that make up proteins, and apparently they are very small allowing easy absorption of these amino acids through the skin and hair. The amino acids can also bind to water, and hence carry it to the skin keeping it moisturised from the ground up – ta da!
Because they use this amazing mechanism, there is no nasty grease effect like you can get from some beauty products, hence making silk extracts a perfect ingredient for beauty products. Silk amino acids have been found in eyelash/hair treatments, as well as moisturisers, and these products are considered to be of a higher quality than their non-silk counterparts.
It’s good to finally understand why silk is so good for our skin! If you want to check the post out, here’s the link:
Until the late 18th Century, parachutes were constructed with a rigid frame. In 1797, the first jump with a parachute made from silk was made by Andrew Garnerin. Over the next century, usage of the parachute was usually saved solely for the daredevils and circus performers, especially after Robert Cocking’s death in 1837 from an ill-conceived parachute design. At the start of the 20th Century, the first parachute jump from an airplane was recorded by both Grant Morton and Captain Albert Berry.
The effectiveness of airborne troops was demonstrated in World War II, when Germany dropped troops directly into battle using silk parachutes. A story emerged on BBC’s Antique’s Roadshow earlier this year about a group of women from the Midlands confronted a downed German soldier with pitchforks. According to Birmingham Mail, after the women confronted him, the solider ran off fearing for his life. In fact, the group were just interested in the silk from his parachute, which they used to make silk underwear! Christine Thorp, whose mother was amongst the women who claimed the silk, brought her salvaged section onto the show to share her story.
Extremely light and strong, silk parachutes cut out the bulk that other materials would result in. Nowadays, silk parachutes are rare to come by, overtaken by cheaper alternatives such as nylon.
This time lapse video of a silkworm took over three weeks to capture and consists of over 12,000 photographs. Pretty impressive!