Graphene might a 21st century’s philosopher’s stone: flexible, strong, fashionable material that’s also conductive; the goal is fabric that can support technology without being clunky about it.
Scientists at Beijing’s Tsinghua University have come up with the idea of combining silk with graphene—conductive carbon one-atom thick — by feeding it to silkworms.
It works, mostly. Scientists fed the silkworms—actually larvae of the silk moth—mulberry leaves that had been sprayed with solutions of 0.2% carbon nanotubes or graphene. Nature took her usual course, and when the silk was harvested from the cocoons, it contained graphene and was stronger than normal silk. The silkworms excreted some of the graphene—presumably some research assistant had the job of checking that—so some tweaking is in the works.