Extolling the many virtues of spider silk is something of a trend these days, as the fine yet remarkably hardy material continues to best even the strongest synthetic materials (a good spider silk weave is supposedly four times stronger than Kevlar). But this latest application makes transgenic, spider silk-producing goats seem simple by comparison: A bioengineered skin so tough that it stops a speeding bullet from penetrating.
To be perfectly fair up front, the bullet in the first clip in the video below is moving at half speed. Repeated with a round moving at a full 1,080 feet per second, the skin gives way. But both half-speed and full-speed tests were also conducted with real human skin and human skin augmented with regular silkworm silk, as well as with piglet skin. In all cases, the bullet won out. The only exception was the bioengineered spider silk tissue.
Which begs the question: Is it possible to someday augment human skin to make it tougher--possibly even bulletproof? Probably not, and even if so that certainly wouldn't make the human body impervious to the other factors involved in being struck by a bullet (like the sheer bone-breaking, potentially heart-stopping impact).
Regardless, chalk it up as another potential application for nature's toughest fiber, one that's getting closer and closer to mass-production and integration into a range of materials that need strengthening.
hmmmm....why not Layers of this silk with some kevlar behind it?
Nice example of the values of spider silk, but it could never be the key ingredient to bulletproof skin. Kevlar in vests is only useful for stopping the bullet from cutting through the vest itself; its still up to the rest of the material to disperse the energy into a large area of the torso, so that there is reduced blunt force impact. The bullet may not break the spider silk skin, but the round will still press far into the body, breaking bones, puncturing organs, and causing mayhem. It might possibly be doing more damage than a simple through-and-through gunshot wound might.
Cool stuff though.
Even if the bullet does not penetrate the skin, the silk shirt+bullet will. At the very least, it will be easy to remove the bullet (assuming it did not kill you) Just pull on the shirt.
The Mongols reportedly used silk it in this fashion. If an arrow pierced their armor, it would be wrapped in the silk of their tunic. They could pull the arrow out without causing additional damage resulting in a cleaner and less severe wound.
Imagine being bullet proof like superman or at least spider man.
Thus a spider man outfit woven with this stuff really would make spider man bullet proof.
Would also be great for any type of "gear" used by racers, climbers, construction workers - you name it. I wonder if you could wear gloves like this to handle machinery - would it help prevent you from getting a major cut. Amazing uses...maybe we shouldn't step on spiders so readily.
Force, explosion, impact in itself can kill.
Let’s not forget this too.
But I am grateful science is developing better protection.
Science sees no further than what it can sense.
Religion sees beyond the senses.
I don't know about this one, guys... I would rather die instantly from a painless bullet wound to the head than die after minutes of extreme hemorrhaging and other internal bleeding... maybe we should stick with building these strong fibers into serious clothing (ballistic vests and such) instead of second skins (as shown above)...
just FYI the very first bullet proff vest EVER were indeed made out of silk, invented by a monk who thought they would stop war. They were expensive and time consuming to make, but they DID stop bullets of the era with some rather good success. IN FACT do you know who prince ferdinand is? his assassination started WW1. Fun little fact he was wearing one of these silk bullets. So what happened? The assassin got very lucky and hit ferdinand in the neck!!!
Ok, let me see if I got this right.
In a previous story posted the same day as this one, it talks about bullets that now change trajectories to ensure it hits its target.
Then there is this story about making hardened skin from spidersilk (overly simplified, I know).
So what we are doing is making a person bullet proof so that they can take 10,000 rounds of bullets that can't miss. Sounds like fun!
If it could be made affordable, I see this as possibly augmenting current Kevlar/ballistic plate body armor. Typically, body armor does not protect your arms and legs (except for EOD suits), because it restricts movement. Silk pants/shirt could reduce the severity of combat casualties. Instead of an open wound, you could end up with a wicked bruise. That would mean the difference between staying in the fight, and a medevac.
It could also get you back on your feet faster. The modern military bullet consists of a lead core surrounded by a copper jacket. When the bullet pierces flesh, it deforms. The copper jacket often peels off and can break apart, leaving fragments scattered throughout the wound. All of these fragments must be surgically removed. However, if the bullet was still in the shirt as it pierced your skin; all of the fragments would stay in the shirt and be kept out of the wound.
Of course there are bullets that will go through Kevlar. The idea is not to make the soldier impervious to small arms fire. This is not practical. The idea is to minimize the damage to reduce combat casualties and fatalities.
yeah yeah, Stan Lee knew this 40 years ago....
I agree with Delkomatic, it would be a juggernaust one man army!
You could use this in shoes, torn seam repair, anything is possible!