Category Archives: Spider Silk

Spider Silk

Abstract

To date, spider silk is the world’s strongest natural fiber. It possesses outstanding feats of strength, all while staying extremely lightweight and flexible. One strand of spider silk is one-tenth the thickness of a human hair, and its flexibility closely resembles that of thread. These qualities are unmatched by other fibers, such as cotton or nylon, giving it a wide variety of industrial applications. It’s value increases furthermore, since it is a renewable resource.The potential to utilise this resource is declining since the habitat of the many of these spiders are being threatened by deforestation. Many companies also use abusive methods to obtain this material, including pinning down the spider and forcibly pulling its silk. The team is traveling to Costa Rica to study the silk of the Nephila clavipes. The goal of the Forman spider silk team is to further research humane practices of spider silk extraction and to look at the strength of the silk when combined with other fibers. This study explores the change of spider silk’s strength when combined with Wool, Kevlar, Paracord, Hemp, Polyester, and Cotton. The spider silk and the other fibers are combined in five patterns: fishtail, Back Splice Tying, One handed surgical ligature, Distel Hitch, Child Swing.

 

Introduction

The 2017 Spider Silk team is led by Logan Faucett, Natalie Canterbury and Parker Broadnax. Spiders are not only global, but extraordinarily diverse. However this year’s spider of interest remains to be the Nephila clavipes. According to research done by the 2015 spider silk team, Nephila clavipes silk is an impressive 13.8 gigapascals.

 

The Forman Spider Silk team is entering its twenty first and final year of operation. Due to the fact that we would like to hand off our operations to a University that may be able to dedicate the time needed to move this project to its mission as a sustainable resource.  Past research has included the economics of harvesting spider silk, designing enclosures for the spiders, and collecting/testing spider silk mega samples. Our ultimate goal for this project is to incentivise spider silk as a valuable resource, discouraging the destruction of its habitat through deforestation. The spider being tested in this experiment is the Nephila clavipes, known in english as the Golden Orb Weaver spider. The Nephila clavipes silk is one of the strongest of the orb weavers spiders, however they are one of the few with significantly strong silk that can live together in colonies. The odd trend of this spider makes them an ideal choice for choice for cultivation, and a very promising renewable resource.

 

The silk is extracted using the “silkinator,” a patented spider silk technology. The silkinator is a metal disk, with eight spokes welded around the circumference. The wheel is mounted onto a metal box, approximately 16 cm^3. An thin metal rod runs through the wheel and the box, enabling technicians to spin the wheel by cranking a handle. The spider’s silk is attached onto the wheel, and it collects around the wheel as it turns.

 

The specific silk the team is looking at is the drag line. This drag line is the strongest of all the spider’s natural silk glands

 

The Forman Spider Silk team also one of the few programs that practices the humane extraction of spider silk. Part of our mission is to increase awareness to the  benefits of spider silk, however there many other companies that end up abusing the spider. These abusive practices on the spider include taping or even pinning a live spider to a board, while it’s silk is harvested to the spider’s exhaustion. The consideration for the well being of the spider does not take away from any aspects of the efficiency. One of our patents covers the enclosure of the Nephila clavipes, which keeps the spider healthy while enabling a regular silking process.

 

 

Methods

First, spiders are mapped in a waterproof notebook in order to keep track of where each spider is. The mapping process involved sketching different sections of colonised spiders. Each spider is represented by a dot, then numbered in the order in which they are extracted for that day. The mapping process removes the possibility of silking a spider more than once in any given day.

 

The spider is taken off of its web using the (Welshans cage method) and brought over to silk lab station to start silking. The spider will lay a sticky disc which is like an anchor to the handler’s hand. Attached to that sticky disc is the drag line that we will then wrap around the wheel. Once the silk is around the wheel, we begin collecting the silk. The amount of silk and the rate of silking is measured by a bike odometer. The diameter of the silkinator is entered into the odometer, and information is gathered as the magnet passes through the reader. The devices calculate speed in kilometers per hour and amount of spider silk gathered is measured in meters.

 

The spinner will then take the silk off the wheel that we’ve extracted (usually around 225 feet). Using metal probes and gloves to minimize the possibility of getting oils from their fingers onto the silk. This helps reduce variables so our data becomes more reputable and useful. To avoid harming the spider, silking stops when the spider cuts its own line and or stopped at 225ft to eliminate the possibility of over silking the spiders.

 

Environmental factors that the silk was exposed during extraction is recorded by a portable weather station. The factors including Time, Date, Precipitation, Barometric Pressure, Wind, are all entered into a data table. This will be helpful when analyzing data from the silk alternate fiber blend. After all, if we took the time to extract over 85 spiders, we would need to have a way to analyze the data so we can infer why it is that one spider’s silk was stronger than another. We can then begin to find correlations.

 

The silk is taken from the extractor and attached by a hook on the Vernier Wireless dynamics sensor system (tensile lab), to measure its tensile strength. The silk is pulled lby an actuator at a constant speed giving us a consistent data representative of the silks strength. This data is collected from the tensile lab and shown on a graph as force (N) over time (s).

 

Equations/Conversions:

(r = no. of revolutions)

Amount of silk in feet = r x 10/12

This equation takes the number of revolutions that the extractor’s wheel is spun and is converted to a number which represents the amount of silk collected in feet.

The bike counter also needs to be set to the number 1700 to take into account the smaller wheel as opposed to that of one from an actual bicycle.

(Courtesy of the 2015 Spidersilk team)

 

The Vernier scale maximum capacity is fifty Newtons.

 

Fishtail

The spider silk is made into a “fishtail braid” by hand based on the reference given by www.totalbeauty.com.

1. Create a ponytail. Split the ponytail into two even sections.

  1. Pull a half-inch strand of hair from the outside of the left section. Cross it over to the right side.
  2. Now pull a half-inch strand of hair from the outside of the right section. Cross this piece over to the left side.
  3. Continue steps 2 through 3 all the way down to the end of your pony. Secure your braid with an elastic. Remove the elastic at the base of your neck by carefully cutting it off with scissors.
  4. Finish your braid by gently tugging it along the sides. This will loosen the braid to make it look perfectly undone.”

Individual fishtail braids will be made from spider silk and one of the following fibers: wool, kevlar, paracord, hemp, and polyester.” After a braid of the two fibers is made (e.g. Spider silk and wool), the resulting product is tested on the tensile lab. The braid is pulled by the actuator until the fiber fails, and it’s tensile strength is recorded onto the spider silk computer via the logger Pro software. The process is repeated until all fibers have been twisted together and a fishtail braid.

 

Back Splice

The spider silk is made into a “back splice” based on the the instructions given by animatedknots.com. Five individual back splices will be made from spider silk and the tested fibers: wool, kevlar, paracord, hemp, polyester. The splice of the two fibers (e.g. Spider silk and wool) is done with the splicing kit based on the reference given by animatedknots.com. “Form a Crown Knot by passing each strand over its neighbor and then tighten the knot. Splice each strand into the rope by passing it over and under alternate strands in the standing end. Complete a second and a third set of tucks to complete the back splice.The resulting product is tested on the tensile lab. It is pulled by the actuator until the fiber fails, and the tensile strength is recorded onto the spider silk computer via the Logger Pro software. The process is repeated until all fibers have been spliced

 

One handed surgical ligature

The spider silk is made into a “one handed surgical ligature” based on the the instructions given by animatedknots.com. “With your index finger hook the long end. Pull the short end under it and through. Hook it again and pull the short end through. Tighten the Half Knot. Lay the short end, then the long end, over your hand. With your middle finger hook the long end. Pull the short end under it and through. Pull tight to complete the Ligature.” Five individual ligatures will be made from spider silk and the tested fibers: wool, kevlar, paracord, hemp, polyester). After a braid of the two fibers is made (e.g. Spider silk and wool), the resulting product is tested on the tensile lab. It is pulled by the actuator until the fiber fails, and the tensile strength is recorded onto the spider silk computer via the logger Pro software. The process is repeated until all fibers have been twisted together into a one handed surgical ligature.

 

Distel Hitch

The spider silk is made into a “distel hitch” based on the following instructions from animatedknots.com. “Use a lanyard with an eye at each end. Wrap the longer end around the climbing rope to make two Half Hitches. Then continue around and through the top Half Hitch three more times. Balance the lengths and pull tight. Attach the carabiner.” Five individual hitches will be made from spider silk and the tested fibers: wool, kevlar, paracord, hemp, and polyester. The hitch of the two fibers (e.g. Spider silk and wool), is done by hand. The resulting product is tested on the tensile lab. It is pulled by the actuator until the fiber fails, and the tensile strength is recorded onto the spider silk computer via the logger Pro software. The process is repeated until all fibers have been joined together to make a Distel Hitch.

 

Child Swing

The spider silk is made into a “child’s swing” based on the the instructions given by animatedknots.com.“Attach each main rope to the branch of the tree using a running bowline. Thread one rope under one edge of the seat and tie a temporary figure 8. Thread the other rope under the other edge and tie it with three Half Hitches. Untie the Figure 8 and attach it also with three Half Hitches.” Five individual back splices will be made from spider silk and the tested fibers: wool, kevlar, paracord, hemp, polyester. After a braid of the two fibers is made (e.g. Spider silk and wool), the resulting product is tested on the tensile lab. It is pulled by the actuator until the fiber fails, and the tensile strength is recorded onto the spider silk computer via the logger Pro software. The process is repeated until all fibers have been twisted together into a “child swing.”

 

The tensile strength trials are sorted in the table labeled “Tensile strength of various fibers over different braid.”

 

Materials

 

  1. Four Silk Extractors- made out of aluminium
  2. Silkinator 2.0
  3. Tool Kit
  4. Level ruler
  5. Rite in the rain notebooks
  6. Flagging tape
  7. Duct tape
  8. Wrist rocket (slingshot)
  9. Black light
  10. Light meter
  11. Odometers (x5)
  12. Rubber bands
  13. Wool
  14. Kevlar
  15. Paracord
  16. Hemp
  17. Polyester
  18. Cotton
  19. Splicing kit
  20. Nitrile Gloves (disposal gloves)
  21. Actuator (BMW car antenna)
  22. Vernier Scale
  23. Portable weather station

 

Data Tables

Tensile strength of each individual fiber type (controls)

Fiber Types Strand Count Tensile strength (Gigapixels)
Kevlar
Wool
Paracord
HMPE (High- Modulus Polyethylene)
Polyester
Ethicon
Cotton
Hemp
Spider silk (silk of the Nephila)

 

Tensile strength of various fibers combined into different weaves (braids)

Fiber Types Width Fishtail Back Splice Tying One handed surgical ligature Distel Hitch Child Swing
Kevlar
Wool
Paracord
HMPE
Polyester
Ethicon
Cotton
Hemp
Spider silk (silk of the Nephila)

 

Environmental conditions of spider silk:

Date Time Temp Humid Rainfall Wind Direction Spider Name/Number Time of Session Number of rotations Color of Silk

 

Sources:

 

 

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The Foundation of A Sustainable Industry With Spider Silk

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Abstract:

The mission of the 2015 spider silk team was to establish a fair trade between local farmers in Costa Rica & a new sustainable industry. The project revolves around not only a spider with one of the strongest extractable biofibers, but one that lives in colonies. This spider is called the Nephila Clavipes, more commonly known as the Golden Orb Weaver. The project has disproved the theory that Golden Orb Weavers are not able to live in harmony, debunking many scientist’s assumptions. It has also been discovered that these spiders are able to be extracted in mass quantities. By the end, the spider silk team of 2015 got in conversation with a few corporations like 3M, Earth University and the Sustainability Lab in the hopes to work alongside them for further research.

Introduction:

The Golden Orb Weaver, universally known by its Latin name Nephila Clavipes, is well known for their ability to spin spider silk that is very flexible, tough and lightweight. They produce one of the strongest natural fibers in the world and their silk has huge potential to be used industrially and commercially. The silk can be used for many purposes, such as bullet proof clothing, wires, fishing lines, bungee cords, nets, surgical threads and artificial ligaments. The goal of the 2015 spider silk team is to extract and harvest the spider’s silk, using a patented wheel extractor, to collect measurements and data for future use by the public.

The Nephila Clavipes species is the only one of the Nephila genus located in the Western hemisphere. They tend to prefer areas with high humidity, and can often be found in forests. They are mostly orange or yellow, and have long abdomens with feathery legs extending out from them. The female spiders can be significantly bigger than the male spiders, being at least 5 to 6 times larger than males in size. When in their natural habitat, the Golden Orb Weavers like to spin large amounts of their silk to create huge and finely meshed orb webs. These webs are typically constructed as a form of defense or protection against predators. They can span 1 or 2 meters, and are commonly situated a few meters above ground. It is also a way for the spiders to catch their prey of small flying insects, which they end up incapacitating and taking back to their hub on the web.

The 2015 spider team went to Costa Rica with the goal of gathering as much data and numbers within the short two week time span to send into various corporations for testing and analyzing.

Materials and Methods:

Before the extraction can begin, the odometer needs to be set at 1700 rotations. This allows the amount of silk extracted to be recorded.

To then begin the extraction, one first needs to safely take the spider off of her web & bring her over to the extraction wheel. One then holds the spider until she lays a sticky disc on the arm of the person extracting. This should take well under a minute. After the spider lays her sticky disc, the sticky disc is be pulled off & placed on the wheel of the extractor. The second person begins to turn the wheel with the handle, at a rate between six & seven miles per hour. This rate is the most efficient because it allows the spider to have the sensation like it were falling, but also not too fast that the spider will cut its drag line. As the first person handles the spider, the second person continues to spin the wheel around two hundred and fifty to three hundred rotations.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.46.59 AM.png

This amount allows the spider to give a sufficient amount of silk, but not too much that it is going to harm the spider or cause a decline in the quality of the silk.

Once the spider silk is extracted, it needs to tested for its tensile strength. The equipment comprises of a glacier computer hooked a wireless sensor system, which measures the pull of the silk in Newtons. The software that collects the data and graphs the peak is called the Logger Pro. It calculates where the silk breaks off when it is pulled by the attenuator.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.46.32 AM.png

Results:

The Forman Rainforest Project holds two patents relating to spider silk. The first one is the patent on our extraction. This is for our procedure and methods of reinforcing a fiber with spider silk. It involves manual extraction, mechanical extraction and into a direct weave.

Wheel to wheel

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.45.42 AM

Direct Weave

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.45.46 AM

By having this patent, we protect this species of spider from being exploited. The second patent is on farming the spiders silk. This patent includes the methods for setting up the perfect living environment for the spiders to build their webs.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.45.21 AM

The sketch shows a building with a drop light in the center to draw in the insects. Frames on the outside for spiders to build their webs and an eave that protects the webs during heavy rains. Basically we have eliminated crucial limiting factors. That may affect their longevity and coax them to stay.

Doctor Swanson is a well renowned scientist whose area of expertise is the strength of spider silk. According to his data, the average strength of a nephila’s silk is 13.8 gigapaxels. The Forman School had tested their spider silk at Tuft’s University by a professor, and he found that the silk tested at a low of 11.8 gpas & an extremely impressive high of 22.7 gpas. The spider silk’s results tested in the higher percentile compared to Swanson’s data.

The elasticity of Swanson’s data was 17.2%, which  the silk stretched 17.2% beyond its original length. The Spider Silk team’s results stretched 16% all the way up to 22% of its original length. Our bundles of spider silk stretched up to 40%.

Raw Data – Important raw data should be included in a supplementary Data section. This allows readers and reviewers to judge how you used your data.

Figures/Tables/Graphs:

This graph shows the tensile strength of the spider silk graphed on the y-axis and the temperature is graphed on the x-axis.
Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.43.49 AM

This graph shows the temperature (green line) and the strength (blue line), but on two different lines. It can seen that as the temperature goes down, the strength goes up.
Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.44.32 AM

Equations/Conversions:

(r = no. of revolutions)

Amount of silk in feet = r x 10/12

This equation takes the number of revolutions that the extractor’s wheel is spun and is converted to a number which represents the amount of silk collected in feet.

The bike counter also needs to be set to the number 1700 to take into account the smaller wheel as opposed to that of one from an actual bicycle.

Statistical Analysis:

According to the data collected, the ideal temperature for silking the spiders is 72.8 to 83.6 ºF, while the ideal barometric pressure is 27.99 to 28.14 hectopascals (hPa).

Discussion:

After this year’s research, the 2015 spider silk team has made the efforts to partner up with someone for discovering a possibility with making the Nephila’s silk marketable. Some of the questions that the team attempted to answer this year were: whether there was a correlation to barometric pressure or temperature; whether there were negative or positive environmental impacts of extracting spider silk; how spider silk could be made into a sustainable resource, as well as whether it could be turned into a cottage industry; what is the minimal amount of spider silk that equals profit?.

References:

Doctor Swanson

Cheryl Hayashi TED talk video

 

Acknowledges:

Wendy Welshans

 

Authorship:    

Addison Keilty

Tristan Jeyaretnam

Gordon Wilson

2016 Spider Silk Team

Greetings! We are the 2016 Spider Silk Team! Our names are Will Dietrich ’16 and Davis Ebbert ’16, and we are very excited about our project. Currently, we are researching everything available about spider silk and hope to discover more on our own.

The newest update regarding spider silk involves a company named The North Face. This company is well known in the sport adventure industry and creates winter jackets from which any ametur or professional can benefit. This new product has been named the “Moon Parka.” North Face, as well as many other companies, have given in to the global craze over spider silk. This is because it is one of nature’s stretchiest and strongest materials known to mankind. Spiber Technologies has been working with North Face extensively and has helped them create this new product. By isolating the gene responsible for the production of fibroin and introducing it to a bioengineered bacteria, the new product is an artifical silk that can be collected and spun. Spiber Tech mentioned in a statement that they developed this product with the thought in mind that most sports apparel out in the world creates harmful greenhouse gases and creating a product that is renewable is very important to society.

The difference between spider silk and biotech artificial silk is enormous. The strength of natural silk from the nephila clavipes spider cannot be replicated in any lab and is immensely stronger than artificial biotech. Spider silk from nephila clavies is [200%] stronger than synthetic silk and hold the record as the strongest natural fiber known to man. In short, natural silk is more impressive than biotech. What that really means is that the silk that our team extracts in the field will be better than any artificial spider silk project out there to date. Biotech silk involves the introduction of bioengineered material to the natural silk to try and create the toughest fiber known to man. That being said, the fiber our team extracts still holds the record for the strongest natural silk known worldwide. This has been tested by Tufts University and all silk has been found both credible and valuable.

We work with nephila clavipes spider, which holds the record as the strongest natural fiber known to man. We have developed a patented method for extracting spider silk and then test is elasticity. Last year’s Spider Silk Team set a new strength record when testing spider silk strength and elasticity. This year, we hope to beat that record and rebuild our spider farm down in Costa Rica.

Our plan is to take our team of trained field biologists down to the Costa Rican Rainforest and extract more natural fiber than we could even imagine. Last year, the Spider Silk Team extracted nearly 35,000 feet of fiber, and this year we are determined to take silking to the next level. We will practice silking spiders in the classroom prior to arriving in Costa Rica; that way we will be more than ready to take this year’s production to new heights. We will be stress testing all silk produced, and importing all data into a Glacier Computer (military grade laptop). This information will give us an idea as to the tensile strength of the silk and how the silk has matched up to previous spider silk extractions.

We will be keeping you updated with our progress in the coming months and we are excited to share what learn and discover.

Procedure for Spider Silking

Equipment

  1. Four Silk Extractors- made out of aluminium
  2. Tool Kit
  3. Level ruler
  4. Windshield wiper battery
  5. Spider collection jars
  6. Rite in the rain notebooks
  7. Flagging tape
  8. Duct tape
  9. Slingshot
  10. Black light
  11. Light meter
  12. Bike counters
  13. Rubber bands

Procedure for Spider Silking

The spider silk extractor is one of Forman School’s own patented design, consisting of three parts to it; this comprises of the box itself, the wheel and the handle for spinning the wheel. Everything is stored away in the confinements of the box whilst unused, but when needed for the extraction process, the pieces of this contraption is assembled together.

Now that the new spider silking mechanisms have arrived, fully remade into aluminum, we can begin a proper and more sophisticated method of extracting the silk from the Nephila Clavipes. There will be no more warping in the wood and everything will become more solid and accurate, which will aid in getting precise data.

Because extracting web from a golden orb weaver is a very delicate process, people involved are designated jobs. The first person, denoted as A, handles the spiders and does the collecting of the spider silk. The second person, denoted as B, spins the wheel on the extractor to ensure the collection. The third person, denoted as C, records all the data on a notebook, as well as a glacier computer.

  1. Person A transports the spider from its web to the location of extraction, using cupped hands so as to not harm the spider
  2. Person C uses the light meter to measure the amount of lumens hitting the silk. The spider’s number, the time of day, and other variables that can factor the silking are also recorded.
  3. The spider is brought to the wheel of the silk extractors, and is prepared to release it’s webbing by allowing the spider to create the sticky disc on Person A’s hand. The sticky disc allows the spider to attach itself to the hand of Person A while it releases its fiber for the extractor to collect the silk.
  4. Person B starts spinning the wheel using the handle whilst Person A guides the spider with his hands as the silk is being produced, and does this for about 2 to 3 minutes. This timeline allows the spider to release enough fiber, but will not over exhaust the spider.
  5. Once done, the spider is released by Person A safely on its web and back to its colony.
  6. The spider silk is then cut off with scissors. The spider silk will then be tested for its tensile strength. It will be tested with a homemade field tensile lab
  7. The data is then recorded. This includes temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and dew point.

Improved Silk Extractors

After receiving all our Patagonia gear, one of our team members father, Mr. Farrell, who is a professional metallurgist, stopped by to take a look at our silk extractors in preparation for converting four of our silk extractors into metal. Thanks to him, our silk extractors will improve dramatically, as there will be no more warping in the wood and everything will become more solid and accurate.  And the best part is that it will all be professionally modified to enhance their performance when extracting the silk from the Nephila clavipes.

Terrence Farrell, Farrell Precision Metal Craft Corp.

Thank You Patagonia!

Thanks to you we have great gear!

From early mornings with the bird team to late nights with the Reptiles & Amphibians team, we will be trapping, recording, and doing research in the driest and warmest possible way.

Silk Extractors

For the past couple weeks, we’ve been inspecting our inventory of research equipment. The team has decided on the three silk extractors that we will to bring to Costa Rica — and we are planning on building a fourth. During that time, we have also done the tensile strength lab with the spider silk, and practiced using the glacier computer. We can’t wait to get down to the rainforest!

Spider Silk Team of 2014-2015

Spiders, universally known as the Golden Orb Weavers, are known for their ability to spin spider silk that is very flexible, tough and lightweight. They produce one of the strongest natural fibers in the world and their silk has huge potential to be used industrially and commercially. The silk can be used for many purposes, such as bullet proof clothing or artificial ligaments. The 2014-2015 Spider Silk team is Tristan Jeyaretnam, Gordon Wilson and Addie Keilty. Our goal is to extract and harvest the spider’s silk, using a patented wheel extractor, to collect measurements and data for future use by the public.

Spider Silk 2014 Methods and Materials

 

A. Method of assembling the extractor.

The Silk Extractor, one of the 2 U.S. Patented devices under the Forman School’s Rainforest Project, is key to the process of the silk extraction. This highly effective device scratch-built by Forman Students, has only three main parts consisting of the box, crank and the “wheel”  This portable and compact piece of equipment is very easy to assemble. To start the assembly of the Silk Extract the handle (window crank) is attached to the rear of the box by screwing it in place. Once secure, the “wheel” consisting of eight cut arrow shaft’s placed in a circle (25.4cm).   Once both crank and “wheel” is secure, the Silk Extractor is now ready for the extraction process.

B.  Method for extraction

The method for the extraction of the Nephila Clavipes spider is also under the same protection of the US Patent of the Silk Extractor.  Before the extraction process begins, the three members of the Spider Silk team are given each individual jobs which are vital to the operation. Such jobs include, the handler which has the role of transporting the spider to and  from its web, and uses the “Hand-over-Hand” method to give the spider the sensation of falling; The Crank operator, which is responsible for counting the number of rotations used to silk each individual spider, and the operation of the Silk Extractor; the final job is the Computer Operator, who is responsible for keeping track of all the data throughout the expedition.
To start the extraction, the Spider Handler must carefully remove the Golden Orb Weaver spider from its web. Once the spider is situated on the arrow shafts, the spider  should lay its sticky disc. In order to extract the silk from the spider, the Crank Operator and the Spider Handler must coordinate strongly together because each spider behaves differently. The spider goes into the handlers hand. Then, the handler uses the “hand-over-hand” method to silk the spider. (This method is when the handler places their hands in a tilted down position in order to simulate the sensation of falling for the spider. The silk that is being extracted is the dragline silk. The silk comes out of the Major Ampullate gland. If executed properly the spider should produce silk.) At the same time, the Crank Operator begins the process of spinning with one hand, while the Computer Operator records the data being received.

Once the spider has finished silking, the Spider Handler returns the spider back to its web. After each spider, the following data is recorded; Number of rotations, length of silk, Color of silk, number of strands, Time of extraction, and Weather variables.

C. Methods for feeding

To ensure that variables are close to accurate as possible, the Spider Silk team has developed a method for feeding the spiders. This is vital the silk extracting process and shows that farming these spiders is easy so that a local farmer can perform the extraction technique.  In order to attract these insect, a black light is placed inside of a mesh laundry hamper. Once the light is in place, a dog collar is then positioned over the opening. When fully assembled, the Feeding Ring is hung low to the ground. Within 30 minutes the Feeding Ring is remove from the tree. With the insects caught, feed spiders with insects.  We mostly feed them moths. take insects and throw them into webs.     

D. Method for Logger Pro

In order to use the Logger Pro application. The application is opened. To start the data graph, the recorder types the strength and the elasticity of the silk. X is going to be strength and elasticity is going to by Y. based upon our field results, the recorder types in the data, into Logger Pro and makes a graph.

Date:
Time
Duration of session
# spider
Rotations
Color
Amount of silk
Temperature
Barametric Pressure
Wind Speed
Wind Direction
Rainfall
Luming/lux
Due Point  

E. Method for Employing Local Families.
Employing 2 local families to test what quantity of silk they can get.

F: Method for Light Meter

Going to be using a light meter to look at the amount of lumens that are hitting hte web and going to be measuring by Klux. this will be used to keep track of lumens hitting each web, and coordinating color of silk.

Thank You Glacier Computer

Spider silk has received a new computer from Glacier Computer. Glacier lent us their T510K for when we trek down to the rainforest. This bad boy is loaded with Microsoft Windows Xp, can withstand temperatures from -4 to 113 fahrenheit and its shock absorption up to 40 G. We will be using the computer to input our data and will really help us when we are down in Costa Rica. A Big thank you to Glacier Computer! Much Appreciated!