University of Oxford
Robots & Machines

Scientists Develop “Liquid Wire” That Acts Like Both a Fluid And Solid

This 'liquid wire' mimics spider silk and could lead to a new generation of biorobots.

Researchers are developing a synthetic spider silk to be used in the fields of materials, engineering, and medicine.

Dubbed as “liquid wire,” the thread will mimic the tiny droplets of “watery glue” that coat the spider’s silk, which will act as a spool that reels in the loose thread and keep it from sagging or stretching. It will marry the elasticity of the silk and the surface tension of the sticky droplets. The research team of from Oxford University and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie then reproduced a synthetic thread that uses plastic filaments coated in oil droplets.

According to Dr. Hervé Elettro, lead scientist, the bio-inspired hybrid threads could be manufactured from virtually any components. He said the synthetic threads could be used as microfabrication of complex structures, reversible micro-motors, or self-tensioned stretchable systems.

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