ANN ARBOER—Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc. (OTC: KBLB) announced that Polartec, the Andover, Mass.-based advanced fabric manufacturer, would bring to market the first fabrics made from Kraig’s “spider silk” technologies.
Kraig has genetically engineered silkworms with genes from spiders, giving the silk that the silkworms create as their cocoons have the superior strength of spiderweb fibers, which are among the strongest fibers produced in nature.
The two companies said the initial application of the novel fabrics will be for specialized military applications.
Kraig says its patented technology to produce spider silk is superior to competitors, since spiders cannot be raised in colonies, and other technologies use genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to produce spider silk, which is more costly and produces large quantities of carbon dioxide.
“Teaming with an industry leader such as Polartec is a real endorsement of our proprietary approach to unlocking the potential of commercially produced spider silk,” said Kim Thompson, Kraig Laboratories founder and CEO. “Kraig believes that spider silk, with its superior mechanical characteristics, has the potential to surpass the current generation of high performance fibers.”
These fully renewable, biodegradable and biocompatible ‘super fibers’ are thin, lightweight, flexible, resilient, extraordinarily strong, and display strength-to-weight ratios more comparable to aramid fibers than other current performance fibers. In apparel applications, the possibilities of recombinant spider silks are particularly exciting, realizing unprecedented combinations of physical properties such as luxurious feel and breathable comfort with top durability.
In joint development since 2016, Polartec and Kraig are applying the performance characteristics of spider silk into yarns for military-grade textiles.
“This project combines two of our most important innovation missions: providing best-in-class textiles to our Nation’s military personnel, and our investment in a fully biodegradable product line,” said Gary Smith, Polartec CEO. “Our partnership with Kraig has the potential to be as revolutionary as when we created the first performance fabrics made from post-consumer recycled plastics in 1993.”
Polartec recently announced its Polartec Eco-Engineering commitment to using 100 percent biodegradable and recycled materials across its entire product line through another partnership with Unifi and CiCLO. For example, this new standard for sustainable textiles will include the creation of the world’s first fully recycled and biodegradable fleece, other knits, insulation fills and breathable waterproof fabrics.