Violin strings spun from spider silk

5000 strands wound together to create strings for a violin

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A Japanese researcher has created a set of violin strings from spider silk.

A student of Japan’s Nara Medical University, Dr Shigeyoshi Osaki twisted between 3000 and 5000 individual strands of ‘dragline’ silk – the silk that spiders dangle from – into a range of tightly packed shapes.

Dr Osaki has studied the properties of ‘dragline’ silk for many years and in a paper published in 2007 in Polymer Journal, Osaki revealed the remarkable strength of the material. The violin strings made from the silk withstood more tension than widely used aluminium-coated, nylon-core strings. Dr Osaki will be discuss the strings in a forthcoming issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

‘Several professional violinists reported that the spider strings generated a preferable timbre, being able to create new music,’ writes Dr Osaki.’ ‘The violin strings are a novel practical use for spider silk as a kind of high value-added product, and offer a distinctive type of timbre for both violin players and music lovers worldwide.’

Kerensa Briggs