Modulation of the mechanical properties of spider silk by coating with water

  title={Modulation of the mechanical properties of spider silk by coating with water},
  author={Fritz Vollrath and Donald T. Edmonds},
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 elastic circumferential 'capture' threads which can be contracted to less than 5% of their original length in the web without sagging1-5. Everyday silk is stiff, but can be plasticized by water6-9. It is known that capture threads are coated with a thin layer of aqueous glue10-12, and the question… 
Mechanics of silk produced by loaded spiders
  • F. Vollrath, T. Köhler
  • Engineering
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1996
We examined the effect of a spider’s weight on silk parameters and material properties by studying the stress strain characteristics of radial fibres from Araneus diadematus made heavier by adding
Humidity affects the extensibility of an orb-weaving spider's viscous thread droplets
It was found that the extensibility of droplets on Larinioides cornutus threads increased as humidity increased, however, the deflection of the droplets' supporting axial lines did not change, indicating that atmospheric water uptake increases glycop protein plasticity, but not glycoprotein adhesion.
Compounds in the droplets of the orb spider's viscid spiral
The chemical composition of this aqueous solution is investigated and the droplets are found to be a concentrated solution of hygroscopic substances related to neurotransmitters.
Spider silk inspired functional microthreads.
The results show that the BOAS structure performs better than a cylindrical structure for adhesion, which may explain why this morphology is so prevalent in spider webs despite the cost of increasing the visibility of the web.
Consequences of electrical conductivity in an orb spider's capture web
It is experimentally demonstrated that the capture spiral is electrically conductive because of necks of liquid connecting the droplets even if the thread is stretched, and the hypothesis that such distortion could be used by potential prey to detect the presence of a web is examined.
Glycoprotein glue beneath a spider web's aqueous coat
The garden spider's web filters from the air insects that arrive with considerable kinetic energy. Critical for the absorption of this energy are the tensile strength and extensibility of the silk
Punctuated evolution of viscid silk in spider orb webs supported by mechanical behavior of wet cribellate silk
It is found that compliance and extensibility of wet cribellate silk increased compared to dry state as expected, but the response to water was more similar to other web silks, like major and minor ampullate silk, than to viscid silk.


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
Adhesiveness of Spider Silk
Quantitative data are presented on the adhesiveness of spider thread to insect cuticles oq various kinds.
Viscoelastic Behaviour and Wet Supercontraction of Major Ampullate Silk Fibres of Certain Orb-Web-Building Spiders (Araneae)
The axial retractive stresses that cause thesupercontraction of wetted major ampullate silk fibres and the stresses developed upon reextension from the supercontracted condition are quantified and illustrated and the characteristics of viscoelastic stress relaxation and vis coelastic memory of major Ampullates appear not to be associable with taxonomy.
Comparative Structure and Histochemistry of Silk-Producing Organs in Arachnids
The arachnid silks hitherto studied do not show as much structural and chemical diversity as those of insects; although at least two different silks may be produced by a single pseudoscorpion or mite, and no less than nine types of fibers are known to emerge from the spinnerets of individual spiders of certain species.
Dimensions, Birefringences, and Force-Elongation Behavior of Major and Minor Ampullate Silk Fibers from Orb-Web-Spinning Spiders—The Effects of Wetting on these Properties
The effects of wetting by water were determined on the dimensions, birefringences, and force-elongation behavior of major and minor ampullate silk fibers from Araneus diadematus Clerck, and major
The ecological and evolutionary interdependence between web architecture and web silk spun by orb web weaving spiders
It is proposed that the evolution of alternative web building behaviours is a consequence of the general, phyletic trend to small size among araneoids, and where high energy absorption is not an exacting feature of web design, web architecture should not be tightly constrained to the orb.
Fine Structure and Function of Capture Threads
The threads in question will be called cribellar capture threads in this review due to the ambiguity of the terms cribellate threads or cribellar silk.
GABA and taurine derivatives on the adhesive spiral of the orb web of Argiope spiders, and their possible behavioural significance
Two strongly acidic, ninhydrin‐negative compounds were found in the water soluble fraction of the orb webs of Argiopes trifasciata and Argiope aurantia, and one is a derivative of taurine.
Ecophysiology of Spiders
A Cuticle, Temperature and Respiration.- I Chelicerate Cuticle Structure.- II Coloration and Chromes.- III Thermal and Water Relations.- IV Behavioural Temperature Regulation.- V Behavioural and