Daniel Porter
May 4, 2012

Insights into spider silks' strenghts

Created at May 4, 2012, 3:21pm PDT

Spider silks have long been known to posses exception material properties. "Dragline" silk, the silk used to construct the foundations of spider weds, recognized as being stronger than steel, with many other favorable material properties such as very low density and very high ductility. Recently, researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and Arizona State University have collaborated to complete an extensive study of the basic molecular arrangement of proteins in spider silk. Their research has uncovered two main structural components: a rigid lattice-like component comprising approximately 10% by weight, with most of the remainder composed of largely complicated disordered proteins thought to give the silk its unsurpassed ductility. Their eventual research goal is the production of synthetic spider silk.