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Spider Silk Made With Music

Silk, one of the strongest materials known - about as strong as steel, is a biological material that is nearly entirely made up of proteins. The arrangement of proteins is a key factor in giving silk its strength, and researchers are seeking to understand and recreate this strength in synthetic silk. One of the keys to unlocking this mystery: music.

Once the details of silk's protein structures were translated into musical compositions, key patterns could be easily identified. Useless protein arrangements translated into music that was aggressive and harsh, while those that formed usable fibers sounded softer and more fluid.

Combining materials modeling with mathematical and musical tools could provide a much faster way of designing new bio-materials, replacing the trial-and-error approach that prevails today, according to the researchers. This work "has taught us a new approach, a fundamental lesson" in combining experiment, theory and simulation to speed up the discovery process.
It may be that the complex structures of music can reveal the underlying complex structures of biomaterials found in nature. "There might be an underlying structural expression in music that tells us more about the proteins that make up our bodies. After all, our organs -- including the brain -- are made from these building blocks, and humans' expression of music may inadvertently include more information that we are aware of."

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