• Graphene – sheets of carbon just one atom thick – is one of the strongest artificial materials, and spider silk is one of the strongest natural ones. SoNicola Pugno of the University of Trento, Italy, wondered what would happen if you combined them.
  • After spraying the spiders, some of them produced below-par silk but others got a major boost. The best fibres came from a spider dosed with nanotubes: it was around 3.5 times as tough and strong as the best unaltered silk, spun by the giant riverine orb spider.
  • At this early stage it's not clear how such a material will be used, but one possibility is a giant net capable of catching falling aircraft.

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