Liquid crystalline spinning of spider silk

  title={Liquid crystalline spinning of spider silk},
  author={Fritz Vollrath and David P. Knight},
Spider silk has outstanding mechanical properties despite being spun at close to ambient temperatures and pressures using water as the solvent. The spider achieves this feat of benign fibre processing by judiciously controlling the folding and crystallization of the main protein constituents, and by adding auxiliary compounds, to create a composite material of defined hierarchical structure. Because the ‘spinning dope’ (the material from which silk is spun) is liquid crystalline, spiders can… 
Structure-function relationship of artificial spider silk fibers produced by straining flow spinning.
It was found that the addition of acetonitrile and polyethylene glycol to the collection bath results in fibers with increased β-sheet content and improved mechanical properties, and these spinning conditions affect fiber mechanics.
Spinning of synthetic spider silk-like fibers and ex vivo rheology of spider silk
Spider silk has been hailed as nature's super-fiber based on its mechanical properties. A synthetic analog would have numerous applications, from the textile industry to suspension cables for
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The spider silk fibers have unique high performance properties that make it a desirable model for artificial fibers and its performance under benign conditions has important implications for
Recombinant spider silk from aqueous solutions via a bio-inspired microfluidic chip
Artificial spider silks were spun via microfluidic wet-spinning, using a continuous post-spin drawing process (WS-PSD), which partially mimics the spinning process of natural spider silk and substantially contributes to the compact aggregation of microfibrils.
Comparing the rheology of native spider and silkworm spinning dope
Surprisingly, both dopes behave like typical polymer melts, which opens the door to using polymer theory to clarify the general understanding of natural silks, despite the many specializations found in different animal species.
Aqueous-based spinning of fibers from self-assembling structural proteins.
The method is described in detail and emphasizes the lessons learned during the iterative variable analysis process, which can be used as a basis for aqueous-based fiber spinning of other structural proteins.
Molecular and Structural Properties of Spider Silk
This book chapter summarizes the molecular and chemical properties of different silk types in spiders, their biological functions, and mechanisms of silk extrusion, assembly, and post-spin draw, and discusses strategies that are being implemented for large-scale production of recombinant silk proteins using a variety of heterologous expression systems.
The spinning processes for spider silk.
It is suggested that in the future high-performance, artificial 'spider' silks may be spun from a range of solutions of silk and synthetic proteins.
Recombinant Silk Fiber Properties Correlate to Prefibrillar Self-Assembly.
Tailoring of dope-state spidroin nanoparticle assembly, thus, appears a promising strategy to modulate fibrillar silk properties.
Toward spinning artificial spider silk.
Recent progress has unraveled the molecular mechanisms of the spidroin N- and C-terminal nonrepetitive domains (NTs and CTs) and revealed the pH and ion gradients in spiders' silk glands, clarifying how spIDroin solubility is maintained and how silk is formed in a fraction of a second.


Liquid crystallinity of natural silk secretions
NATURAL silk exhibits a strength and stiffness similar to, and a toughness up to ten times greater than, that of artificial high-performance fibres1–5. These exceptional tensile properties, the
Spider silk as rubber
The silks produced by spiders are exceptional structural materials. Although their tensile strengths are similar to those of cellulose, collagen and chitin, their extensibilities are considerably
Evidence of a Cholesteric Liquid Crystalline Phase in Natural Silk Spinning Processes
A look inside the silk spinning process along the length of a silk gland has been achieved by the cryogenic quenching and subsequent microtoming of live silk-spinning animals, Nephila clavipes
Liquid crystals and flow elongation in a spider's silk production line
  • D. Knight, F. Vollrath
  • Materials Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1999
Our observations on whole mounted major ampullate silk glands suggested that the thread is drawn from a hyperbolic die using a pre–orientated lyotropic liquid crystalline feedstock. Polarizing
Structural organization of spider silk
Spider silks are protein polymers with outstanding physical properties. A benchmark for spider silks is the dragline thread of the golden silk spider Nephila. Our study using urea super-contraction
Abstract : A preliminary physical and chemical examination of a selected group of spider silks was made. The program's ultimate goal was the synthesis of 'super tenacity' protein fibers, and the work
Artificial fibrous proteins: a review.
Modulation of the mechanical properties of spider silk by coating with water
THE orb web of the garden cross spider Araneus diadetnatus is made up of two types of thread with distinctive mechanical properties: stiff radial threads which sag when contracted by only 10%, and