Predicting the mechanical properties of spider silk as a model nanostructured polymer

  title={Predicting the mechanical properties of spider silk as a model 
nanostructured polymer},
  author={David Porter and Fritz Vollrath and Zhengzhong Shao},
  journal={The European Physical Journal E},
Abstract.Spider silk is attractive because it is strong and tough. Moreover, an enormous range of mechanical properties can be achieved with only small changes in chemical structure. Our research shows that the full range of thermo-mechanical properties of silk fibres can be predicted from mean field theory for polymers in terms of chemical composition and the degree of order in the polymer structure. Thus, we can demonstrate an inherent simplicity at a macromolecular level in the design… 
Spider silk as a model biomaterial
Spider silk combines strength and extensibility, and a wide range of mechanical properties can be achieved with only minute (if any) changes in chemical structure. It appears that the full range of
Spider silk as archetypal protein elastomer.
It is concluded that silk after its transformation from the hydrated feedstock to the dehydrated fibre state can in fact be analysed in great detail and interpreted as representative of a wide range of elastomeric proteins covering, inter alia, bone, keratins, elastin and collagen.
Mechanical properties of silk: interplay of deformation on macroscopic and molecular length scales.
Using an in situ combination of tensile tests and x-ray diffraction, we have determined the mechanical properties of both the crystalline and the disordered phase of the biological nanocomposite silk
Molecular and nanostructural mechanisms of deformation, strength and toughness of spider silk fibrils.
This model develops the first spider silk mesoscale model, bridging the scales from Angstroms to tens to potentially hundreds of nanometers, and demonstrates that the specific nanoscale combination of a crystalline phase and a semiamorphous matrix is crucial to achieve the unique properties of silks.
Biomimetic principles of spider silk for high-performance fibres
Abstract: The desirable properties of silk and the relationships between structure and composition are explored. Fibres spun from feedstocks with identical rheology have differing mechanical
5 – The structure of silk
A key feature of silk fibres is the carefully controlled assembly and directed growth that produce hierarchical structures at all length scales. The final result is a material of outstanding
Persistence and variation in microstructural design during the evolution of spider silk
This work shows that the analysis of maximum supercontracted single spider silk fibers using X ray diffraction shows a complex picture of silk evolution where some key microstructural features are conserved phylogenetically while others show substantial variation even among closely related species.
Spider silk as a load bearing biomaterial: tailoring mechanical properties via structural modifications.
The means by which the mechanical properties of spider silk, particularly the yield strain, can be optimized through structural modifications are discussed.
Spider silk fibers
Structure and properties of spider and silkworm silk for tissue scaffolds
Abstract: The structure and properties of silk fibers are at the root of their performance and applicability in scaffolds for tissue engineering. This chapter briefly reviews the composition and


Molecular modeling of spider silk elasticity
We introduce the first comprehensive molecular model of spider dragline elasticity which clearly integrates most of the information known to date about the structure of the fiber. In accordance with
Strength and structure of spiders' silks.
  • F. Vollrath
  • Materials Science
    Journal of biotechnology
  • 2000
The effect of spinning conditions on the mechanics of a spider's dragline silk
It is argued that both trade–offs (between mechanical properties) and constraints (in the manufacturing process) have a large role in defining spider silk fibres.
Materials: Surprising strength of silkworm silk
It is suggested that silkworms might be able to produce threads that compare well with spider silk by changing their spinning habits, rather than by having their silk genes altered.
Fiber Morphology of Spider Silk: The Effects of Tensile Deformation
The fiber morphology of the dragline silk of Nephila clavipes has been investigated by the detailed analysis of wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) patterns. WAXD gives the crystal lattice
Tensile properties of Argiope trifasciata drag line silk obtained from the spider's web
The tensile properties of Argiope trifasciata (Argiopidae) drag line silk retrieved from mooring threads in the web were characterized. Scanning electron microscope images were used to determine the
Prediction of Polymer Properties
Topological method for structure-property correlations volumetric properties thermodynamic properties cohesive energy and solubility parameter transition and relaxation temperatures surface tension