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Fibres/​Yarns/​Fabrics

Kraig Labs delivers ballistic shootpack panels to US Army

Dragon Silk is a genetically engineered spider silk, which mimics the strength and toughness found in native spider silk.

21st August 2018

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Ann Arbor, MI

Protective

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, a leading developer of spider silk-based fibres, has delivered ballistic shootpack panels to the US Army made from the company’s Dragon Silk material. These panels will be evaluated for effectiveness in stopping bullets, in an effort to provide the war fighters with a lighter and more comfortable alternative to conventional protective apparel.

Dragon Silk is a genetically engineered spider silk, which mimics the strength and toughness found in native spider silk, but which can be produced at large quantities through the Company’s specially developed silkworms, according to the manufacturer.

These specially engineered silkworms were developed to be a direct drop-in replacement into the traditional silk production infrastructure which produces more than 150,000 metric tons of silk per year. This approach of adapting the existing production infrastructure is the key differentiator between the company and others working to produce spider silk material, according to Jon Rice, COO.

“After years of research and investment, developing this groundbreaking technology, we are very excited to now see it in the hands of the US Army,” said Jon Rice. “For me, personally, and for the company, the opportunity to help protect the brave men and women whom dedicate themselves to our protection is a great honour.”

Unlike traditional synthetic materials, such as Ultra-High Molecular Weight (UHMW) polymers or aramids, which are very stiff, spider silk is extremely flexible, making it more comfortable and providing higher mobility and movement for the wearer. Spider silk is also biocompatible, making it ideal for skin contact applications, and biodegradable, reducing the environmental burden of the current synthetic materials.

The company continues to develop the next generation of high performance recombinant spider silk materials under the exercised contract option period authorised in 2017 and is currently in the process of opening a production facility in Vietnam to significantly expand its production capacity of Dragon Silk and its many other recombinant spider silk offerings.

www.kraiglabs.com

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