Textile sector Current Affairs

Scientists develop super-flexible and strong artificial silk

Scientists from the University of Cambridge have developed super-stretchy and strong artificial (synthetic) spider silk, almost entirely composed of water.

The synthetic spider silk mimics properties of spider silk, one of nature’s strongest materials for a range of applications such as making eco-friendly textiles and sensors.

Composition

The fibres of the synthetic spider silk are spun from hydrogel, a soupy material which is 98% water. The remaining 2% of the hydrogel is made of naturally available silica and cellulose. These materials are held together in a network by barrel-shaped molecular “handcuffs” known as cucurbiturils. The chemical interactions between the different components enable to pull long fibres from the gel. The water from hydrogel evaporates after it is stretched for 30 seconds, leaving a strong fibre which is both strong and stretchy.

Properties

The fibres of the synthetic spider silk are extremely thin threads and are of few millionths of a metre in diameter. They resemble miniature bungee cords and can absorb large amounts of energy. They are sustainable, non-toxic, less energy-intensive and can be made at room temperature.

The fibres are capable of self-assembly at room temperature, and are held together by supramolecular host, where atoms share electrons. They can support stresses in the range of 100 to 150 megapascals, which is similar to other synthetic and natural silks.

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Prime Minister inaugurates Textiles India 2017  

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Textiles India 2017, India’s first ever mega textiles trade fair at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

The three-day fair will showcase the nation as a global sourcing hub and investment destination for manufacturers world-wide.

Key Facts
  • The fair has been organised by Union Ministry of Textiles.
  • It aims to explore opportunities and strengths of textiles and apparel manufacturing in India for global investors, and forge collaboration with global players in the textiles segment.
  • The event will have G2G, B2B and B2G meetings with 2,500 international buyers, 1000+ international and domestic exhibitors and 15,000 domestic visitors.
  • Besides, country sessions, state sessions, round tables and sectorial seminars will be also held, many of which will be chaired by Union Ministers. Fashion shows and thematic shows will also be held.
India’s textiles sector

India’s textiles sector is one of the oldest industries in Indian economy dating back several centuries. Even today, it is one of the largest contributors to India’s exports with approximately 11% of total exports (exports during FY 2015-16 stood at US$ 40 billion). It contributes approximately 5% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 14% to overall Index of Industrial Production (IIP). It is also labour intensive and is the second largest employer after agriculture. Government has allowed 100% FDI in the Indian textiles sector under the automatic route.

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