Liquid crystals and flow elongation in a spider's silk production line

  title={Liquid crystals and flow elongation in a spider's silk production line},
  author={David P. Knight and Fritz Vollrath},
  journal={Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences},
  pages={519 - 523}
  • D. Knight, F. Vollrath
  • Published 7 March 1999
  • Materials Science
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
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 microscopy of the gland's duct revealed two liquid crystalline optical textures: a curved pattern in the feedstock within the ampulla of the gland and, later in the secretory pathway, the cellular texture previously identified in synthetic nematic liquid crystals. The behaviour of droplet inclusions… 

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