The Velozzi Spidey supercar uses spider silkOctober 12, 2020
Spidey Tek is ready to show the possibilities of using a promising material
The American biotechnology company Spidey Tek will build a supercar that will use natural spider silk, an ultra-strong natural material obtained by genetic engineering methods. The company will convert it into fibers and other types of raw materials, and from them will be used to produce exterior panels, interior elements and even glass.
Spidey Tek says it has found a way to isolate the genes responsible for the fibrillar protein in spider silk and was even able to transplant them into alfalfa, which is grown as a forage plant. In the western United States, it has planted hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland, which means that the company potentially has access to hundreds of tons of raw materials, and at practically zero cost.
Genetically modified alfalfa can be harvested 8-10 times a year for five years. Then, using a completely environmentally friendly process, separate the protein, purify and turn it into powder. And it, in turn, into other materials: fibers, films, hydrogels, foam or special wear-resistant coatings. Some of them can later be used for the manufacture of both elements of the interior of cars and external body panels, glass, headlights and even wheels.
The Velozzi Spidey supercar is designed to demonstrate the potential of spider silk, in the design of which they promise to use a lot of this material. The head of Spidey Tek and the engineering firm Velozzi, Roberto Velozzi, intends to create the lightest, strongest and safest production car that will compete with Formula 1 cars and LMP1 class prototypes. But so far, judging by the single image, the new supercar is showing a 2007 concept designed by Velozzi for the Automotive X Prize.
Spidey Tek’s vision is not unusual as experimental materials are increasingly making their way into the automotive industry. We are already accustomed to carbon fiber monococks of varying degrees of rigidity and are not surprised by composites with the addition of graphene. Next in line are niobium-based alloys, amorphous metals, magnesium-based composites and Zylon thermosetting polymer – the tensile strength of this material is 1.6 times higher than that of Kevlar.
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