A Japanese researcher has found a way to string a violin using ultra-strong spider silk, according to an upcoming article in Physical Review Letters, a scientific journal.
According to New Scientist, Shigeyoshi Osaki, a researcher at Nara Medical University in Japan has studied the properties of spider silk for 35 years and has lately focused turning the substance into violin strings that produce quality sound.
Osaki was particularly interested with “dragline silk” that spiders use to dangle from objects, studying the strength and elasticity it needs to be fitted onto a violin, said the BBC.
To create the strings, Osaki had spiders create long strangs of dragline, the most powerful silk that spiders can spin, and then bundle them together in filaments to make violin strings.
The "G" string on Osaki's violin contains over 15,000 of these filaments to get the proper sound, according to New Scientist.
The researcher then measured the tensile strength - the maximum any material can be stretched or pulled before breaking - of the filament, a critical factor for violinists who need a string that won't break during a concert.
Achieving strong strings came from the fact that individual filaments began to change their shape when twisted, turning into polygons that fit tightly together unlike traditional cylindrical strings.
According to Popular Science, Osaki found that his spider silk strings were as tough as aluminum-coated strings, yet broke before traditional gut strings.
"To my knowledge, no one has observed such a change of cross section," said Osaki according to the BBC.