More than just a textile, silk is a fascinating biological material. Shaped by evolution to be super strong, silks made by spiders and silkworms may hold the key to new-age environmentally friendly materials.

We’ve all heard of the silk textile, but did you know that it’s made by a caterpillar? Did you also know that spider silk is the toughest known material? Or that silk could be the future of knee replacements?

Presented by researchers from the Oxford Silk Group, the SILK interactive stand covers these topics and more. Divided into exhibits on silkworms and spiders, the stand combines expert demonstrators, hands-on activities and the animals themselves. 


Just like the ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’, silkworms make cocoons out of silk for protection as they change into moths. Cocoons can be unravelled to produce the well-known textile, but can also be used in protective plates.

MEET the silkworms and learn about how the diversity of cocoon types has got engineers excited.

MAKE some cocoon plates and TEST how good they really are - one day they may be found in protective clothing, or even a car body.


Not everyone’s favourite animal, spiders produce one of the most impressive materials known, which is proving hard to replicate. Extremely thin, but incredibly strong, spider silk is used in webs to catch flies, and sometimes even birds.

MEET the (fully enclosed!) spiders and TEST how strong the silk really is.
WATCH how spider silk is harvested directly from the spider. Sponsored by the Institute of Physics, come to the SILK stand to witness how scientific research combines all the sciences - studying nature’s materials to inspire tomorrow’s technology.

Don’t miss out – you can also enter the prize draw and claim your free memento!

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The stand highlights to beneficial links between biology, physics and engineering. We have expert demonstrators with a range of STEM backgrounds and experience, particularly across multiple science subjects. If you're interested in STEM careers or cross-discipline activities, please talk to our demonstrators or pick up a leaflet.

The Oxford Silk Group is an academic research group based in the Zoology Department of the University of Oxford. Please see our website: 

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