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Lightweight Construction

Silk should make aircraft lighter

Together AMSilk and Airbus are hoping to develop the first composite material made of a bionic high-performance fiber based on silk. The new material should be light, flexible, resilient and environmentally friendly in the manufacture.

09 Oct. 2018
Silk should make aircraft lighter (Photo: AMSilk)

AMSilk from Planegg near Munich is the first company in the world to produce synthetic biopolymers with all the characteristics of natural silk by means of a patented biotechnological process. The product is sold as microparticles, as hydrogel, and as a fiber under the brand name Biosteel. Currently it is used, in particular, for coating medical products and in the textile and cosmetics industries. The company has now announced a cooperation agreement with Airbus. The aim is to develop a new biomaterial based on Biosteel which is intended to be used in the construction of aircraft types in the future.

Biosteel enables the production of a new composite material which, like carbon fiber, is significantly lighter than the types of metal used otherwise. At the same time, the material is flexible and can withstand repeated loads such as impacts. Biosteel fibers are produced in a closed biotechnical process without any use of fossil fuels. The two companies intend to present an initial prototype of the new composite material in 2019.