The Art of Bulletproof

An artist teams up with a forensic institute to create a nearly bullet-proof skin using goat milk and spider silk.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Aug 18, 2011

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Goats engineered to produce milk laden with spider-silk proteins may be able to turn human skin into a bulletproof shield, the Daily Mail reports. The milk’s proteins are extracted and woven into a material that is ten times stronger than steel. Finally, the material is cultured with human skin cells to create a skin that can stop bullets—at least those fired at reduced speeds. The synthetic skin was penetrable by a bullet shot from a .22-caliber rifle—the current standard for bulletproof vests.

But Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi, who created the skin with the help of the Forensic Genomics Consortium Netherlands, is happy with the results. "Even with the 'bulletproof' skin being pierced by the faster bullet, the experiment is, in my view, still a success," Essaidi told TechNewsDaily.

The skin will be on display at the National Natural History Museum Naturalis in Leiden, Netherlands, until January...

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