True or False?

From a throw-away factoid(?) found in a mystery novel --

Silk is warmer than wool and stronger than steel.

Share this

RKN; You're confusing two

RKN; You're confusing two separate characteristics. Would you parachute with a steel chute? And I damn sure would rather run around Iraq in silk rather than steel armor. And no, I would not like to rely on a gun with kevlar bullets.

Yes, I think both are true. Apparently, orb spider silk is stronger than kevlar. But you could consult an expert ...

I've also heard that silk is

I've also heard that silk is (was?) used in the manufacture of American currency. Presumably for its tensile strength?

I can see where he gets the

I can see where he gets the idea from. Silk is often used as an undergarment by mountaineers and others who experience extremely cold conditions.

It's also very strong. During the First World War the British Army experimented with a silk body and neck shield (see Dominating the Enemy by Anthony Saunders). Although excellent at stopping shrapnel (few practical things could stop bullets) it was rejected because it tended to rot in the trench conditions.

I ask you, to suffer steel

I ask you, to suffer steel arrows in silk armor or silk arrows in steel armor?

Silk shirts were worn as a

Silk shirts were worn as a kind of armor by Mongol warriors, IIRC. The arrows still pierced flesh, but they took the silk in with them, and the arrow could then be pulled out without tearing any more tissue. Still a wound, but probably cleaner (both bacteria-wise and tearing-wise) than a non-silk protected wound.

Presumably the silk in the

Presumably the silk in the quote is silkworm silk, which, unlike spider silk, does not have the tensile strength of steel. (In all other measures of strength, like compression strength, neither spider silk nor comes close to steel).

This fiber site also suggests that wool is warmer than silk by virtue of being the warmest natural fiber.

stronger than steel? I would

stronger than steel? I would imagine that the resistance in traction (until breaking) could be higher for silk than steel but the limit of elasticity would be lower for silk than steel. But I'm not a specialist.