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Cheryl Hayashi Shares Spider Silk's Potential Future Uses

 - Jan 16, 2012
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In this speech, biologist Cheryl Hayashi discusses how much the world's populations can learn from spiders. She begins her speech by stating that spiders can be found in nearly every terrestrial habitat and that there are over 40,000 species that exist. She also notes that spiders are extremely old, having been on the planet for approximately 380 million years.

Cheryl Hayashi then provides a fascinating overview of how spiders produce silk and how essential this is to their existence. According to Cheryl Hyashi, spiders can produce seven different kinds of silk that emerge from spinnerets. While spiders depend on silk for web construction, defense against other insects and predators and to protect unhatched eggs, Cheryl Hayashi explains that scientists are beginning to consider the ways it can be used to produce common materials such as carbon fibers and wool. Cheryl Hayashi believes that because of spider silk's exceedingly durable and flexible properties, it can potentially be used as an alternative to some of today's most commonly used materials.