Qmonos: Synthetic Spider Silk


The North Face’s Moon Parka constructed from Qmonos

Natural spider silk is stronger than kevlar by weight and more elastic than cotton, making it a perfect material choice for durable textiles.  Spider silk however, is very hard to come by in mass quantities.  That is why Japanese company Spiber has created a material called Qmonos, a synthetic spider silk.  The material is constructed by bacteria proteins to form a liquid-like compound which is then spun into thread.

The advancement could lead to enormous progression in any industry that has a use for strong, light fabrics.  The military could see an increase in protection and range in motion from incorporating Qmonos into a soldier’s uniform.  Body armor is constructed of steel or ceramic plates held in a kevlar vest.  While Qmonos would not be able to replace the internal plates, it could replace the kevlar vest if spun thick enough.  Qmonos could also replace other parts of the uniform like the jacket and trouser.  The jacket and trousers are made of nylon and cotton.  If replaced by Qmonos, the soldier would receive higher protection to light scrapes and a higher range of motion.  Any decrease in weight and increase in flexibility to a military uniform would result in better movement performance.

Rhodes, Margaret. “The North Face’s ‘Moon Parka’ Is Spun From Faux Spider Silk.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

One comment

  1. lutzx195

    Hunter Lutz
    comment 1 – 9/30/16
    Wow, this is a truly innovative material with so much potential! I can envision so many benefits Qmonos could bring to the table, not only in military applications (like your example of the uniform) but in just about everything and anything that uses fabrics. With it being stronger than Kevlar and more elastic than cotton, I can imagine this material being used in athletic gear. As a former lacrosse and hockey player, I know how much abuse sporting gear has to endure, especially in these contact sports. Gear wears out rather quickly so if it was fabricated with Qmonos it could possibly be more durable and would allow for more mobility.

    It would be interesting to see how the environmental impacts of industrial manufacturing and use of Qmonos compare to that of conventional textiles. Is it more or less green than conventional textile?

    I wonder what the cost efficiency of this material is. I am sure this material is expensive to produce which means it is going to be expensive to buy clothing or anything else that contains Qmonos. Maybe we are lucky and Qmonos is super cheap to produce. Who knows, we will just have to wait for the future to find out.

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