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The Spider Web Engineer

Stashed in: Engineers!, Bugs!, Freakonomics

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Not a web engineer but a spiderweb engineer! Fooled me. 

Though copiously studied by biologists, spider silk was relatively unexplored in the polymer field at the time. It was well-established that spider webs contained 6 to 7 unique types of silk, but the specific properties of these silks hadn’t been scientifically categorized. Sahni realized that, while the silk of silkworms had been commoditized for thousands of years, the “adhesive capabilities” of spider silk hadn’t yet been capitalized.

What other polymer scientists had disregarded, Sahni saw as a golden opportunity to innovate.

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