MIT Researchers 3D print synthetic spider webs to help design materials with high strength & low density

Of all of the things in the natural world, spider webs have consistently been one of the more fascinating biological structures known to man.  Between its high-strength properties (ounce for ounce it’s stronger than steel) to its complex mathematical patterns, the spider’s web is nothing short of one of nature’s most impressive structures.  

Now, by using a combination of computational modeling and mechanical analysis, a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a way of using 3D printing to create synthetic spider webs as method o better understanding them.

In a recent paper written by Professor Marku Buehler – head of MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) – along with CEE research scientist Zhao Qin, Harvard University professor Jennifer Lewis and former Harvard postdoc Brett Compton, the team of researchers revealed their findings on the “structural optimization of 3D-printed synthetic spider webs for high strength”. …  (read more)