At first glance, silk isn’t a topic that has a lot of mileage in idle chit-chat but if you scratch beneath the surface of this remarkable material, you’ll realise that many inventions wouldn’t have been possible without it or more commonly, wouldn’t be as effective without it.
1. Silk fibres are very fine and measure in with a diameter of 10 nanometers
In comparison, the average human hair measures in at 180,000 nanometers, and both are indeed very strong materials.
2. 80% of the world’s silk is produced in China
…with India producing around 10%. Uzbekistan and Japan also have significant outputs of silk into the global market Interestingly, Brazil is the only non-Asian nation that is a significant producer of the material.
3. Silk is the material used to make parachutes (which is how it influenced WW2)
Its lightweight properties and strength make it a good material for parachutes as the amount of any denser material needed to reduce fall-speed would make the parachute impractical as something worn on the wearer’s back.
4. Silk can absorb one third of its weight in moisture
…and can do so whilst remaining dry to the touch.
5. The silkworm (which isn’t actually a worm) has a limited diet
…of mulberry leaves which are commonly found in regions of temperate climate.