Polartec, Andover, Mass., a major provider textile solutions, and Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, the biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of spider silk, announce plans to bring to market the first fabrics made from spider silk. Initially developed for specialized military applications, these materials made from recombinant spider silk will eventually service the global market for high performance textiles and apparel.
Among the strongest fibers produced in nature, Kraig possesses the exclusive right to use patented spider silk gene sequences in silkworms, which is the first way to mass produce these fibers cost effectively and responsibly. (Spiders cannot be raised in colonies and competitors rely on genetically engineered E.coli bacteria to make silk, which produces high levels of carbon dioxide in addition to being cost prohibitive.)
“Teaming with an industry leader such as Polartec is a real endorsement of our proprietary approach to unlocking the potential of commercially-produced spider silk,” says Kim Thompson, Kraig Laboratories founder and CEO. “Kraig believes that spider silk, with its superior mechanical characteristics, has the potential to surpass the current generation of high performance fibers.”
These fully renewable, biodegradable and biocompatible ‘super fibers’ are thin, lightweight, flexible, resilient, extraordinarily strong and display strength-to-weight ratios more comparable to aramid fibers than other current performance fibers, the company says. In apparel applications, the possibilities of recombinant spider silks could produce unprecedented combinations of physical properties, such as luxurious feel and breathable comfort with top durability, Kraig says.
Polartec sustainability initiative
Polartec recently announced its Polartec Eco-Engineering™ commitment to using 100 percent biodegradable and recycled materials across its entire product line through another partnership with Unifi and CiCLO. For example, this new standard for sustainable textiles will include the creation of recycled and biodegradable fleece, other knits, insulation fills and breathable waterproof fabrics.
Polartec is a provider of innovative and sustainable textile solutions. Its products range from lightweight wicking and cooling fabrics, to insulation and weather protection textiles, and are utilized by consumer brands, the U.S. Military and other global militaries, flame resistance, workwear, and contract upholstery markets. Kraig Labs is a developer of genetically engineered spider silk-based fiber technologies.