Utah State, Technology Holding win Spider Silk DoD Research Contract

December 20, 2015 |

In Utah, Utah State University has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Phase II contract with Salt Lake City based Technology Holding LLC from the U.S. Army to continue research and development of Spider Silk manufacturing. The total contract award is $1 million and is managed through the Army Research Office.  Among the goals of the researchers is to address the use of fossil fuels for the production of materials such as nylon and the on foreign energy resources for raw material – issues that are limited in the production of synthetic spider silk.

Spider silk is stronger than Kevlar and more elastic than nylon making it a product that has interested industry seeking better solutions for products. Lewis is a prominent researcher in the development and use of spider silk for potential industrial uses in a variety of applications, including ligament and tendon repair, advanced coating, high-tech clothing, parachutes, bioadhesives, time release coatings and airbags.

Under the terms of the SBIR contract, Utah State and Technology Holding will deliver to the Army multiple lengths of fiber made from synthetic spider silk to test for the uniformity of the manufacturing process, multiple swatches of knit material, raw spider silk fiber for strength and elasticity testing, and an economic analysis of the cost of manufacturing. Technology Holding has developed a proprietary process for protein production that, when used with the USTAR Bioproducts Scale-Up Facility that opened earlier this year at Utah State, enables scientists and engineers to demonstrate the viability of commercial production.

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Category: Research

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