By mimicking how a spider spins silk at room temperature, an Oxford University company has created a high-performance biodegradable fabric that is 1,000 times more efficient than current methods for making artificial fabrics, which emit tons of carbon.
Over millions of years, spiders have developed the ability to create one of the most resistant and adaptable materials in the world: silk.
The secret to a spider’s ability to create silk lies within its rows, a specialized organ that converts the liquid silk gel within the spider’s abdomen into a solid thread.
After years of research on this unique mechanism, Spintex has succeeded in imitating the amazing ability of the spider: the company has created a process to spin textile fibers from a liquid gel, at room temperature, with water and biodegradable textile fibers as the only ones Departures.
Last week, the nonprofit Institute for Biomimicry awarded $ 100,000 to English researchers, and named Spintex as this year’s winner. Ray of Hope Award, which honors the world’s top nature-inspired startups.
“By learning from nature, Spintex is creating new products, materials and processes that solve fundamental sustainability challenges,” the press release says.
“The textile industry is looking for sustainable technologies and solutions that reduce waste, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and enable a circular economy. Spintex is in a unique position to replace not only silk used in fashion, but also synthetic fibers derived from oil. As they scale, their goal is to expand their textile capabilities, creating high-performance textiles with properties such as stretch and embedded color, all while creating biodegradable and non-bioaccumulative textiles. “
More than 50% of the environmental footprint of silk lies in the processing of the raw material, which uses thousands of liters of water that must be boiled every day, thus consuming a lot of energy. Currently, there are no sustainable alternatives to traditional silk.
“Spintex offers the only truly sustainable option for silk production that can produce fibers with the quality, performance and luster of traditional silk,” says the company’s website. “Room temperature processes completely eliminate the high energy costs seen in the silk industry, while providing an equivalent or superior product.”
“Going through the Ray of Hope program has been a fantastic experience,” said Alex Greenhalgh, CEO and co-founder of Spintex. “We are all deeply honored to have been selected as the 2021 award winners and we are very grateful for the opportunity that has been provided to us.”
GNN reached out to ask when sales will begin, but has yet to hear back.
In addition to fostering the growth of top nature-inspired startups, the Biomimicry Institute hosts a cool website called AskNature.org, which is a free online tool that contains strategies found in nature and examples of how they are used in design.
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