Navigation Links
Scientists unravel the mysterious mechanics of spider silk
Date:3/1/2011

Scientists now have a better understanding of why spider silk fibers are so incredibly strong. Recent research, published by Cell Press on February 15th in Biophysical Journal, describes the architecture of silk fibers from the atomic level up and reveals new information about the molecular structure that underlies the amazing mechanical characteristics of this fascinating natural material.

Spiders spin silk, which is remarkably strong and stretchy, to use in webs and to suspend themselves. "Silk fibers exhibit astonishing mechanical properties. They have an ultimate strength comparable to steel, toughness greater than Kevlar and a density less than cotton or nylon," explains senior study author Dr. Frauke Grter from the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies in Germany. "Because silk fibers continue to outperform their artificial counterparts in terms of toughness, many studies have tried to understand the mechanical characteristics of these extraordinary natural fibers."

Scientists know that spider silk fibers consist of two types of building blocks, soft amorphous and strong crystalline components. Dr. Grter's group wanted to develop a better understanding of the mechanical properties of spider silk fibers and implemented a multi-scale "bottom-up" computational approach that started at the level of the atoms that make up the amorphous and crystalline subunits and dissected the contributions of these building blocks. The group used both molecular simulations for studying individual and coupled subunits and finite element simulations for a comprehensive fiber model.

The researchers discovered that the soft amorphous subunits are responsible for the elasticity of silk and also help with the distribution of stress. The maximal toughness of silk requires a specific amount of crystalline subunits and is dependent on the way that these subunits are distributed in the fiber. Different structural architectures of the fiber su
'/>"/>

Contact: Elisabeth Lyons
elyons@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Queens University scientists behind safer drinking water in US
2. Scientists identify new implications for perennial bioenergy crops
3. University of Miami scientists track great hammerhead shark migration
4. Scientists find a new way insulin-producing cells die
5. TCD scientists discover that self-eating cells safeguard against cancer
6. MIT scientists say ocean currents cause microbes to filter light
7. Even in a crowd, you remain unique, UCLA life scientists report
8. Gender gap: Selection bias snubs scholarly achievements of female scientists
9. Brown scientists to discuss best practices for the oceans
10. Scientists discover agaves tremendous potential as new bioenergy feedstock
11. University of Miami scientists find new way to estimate global rainfall and track ocean pollution
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:7/11/2014)... have explored two different ways that allow unprecedented ... the formation of oxygen molecules in photosynthesis. The ... journal Nature Communications . , "The new ... for water oxidation, which are key components for ... of solar energy in fuels like hydrogen, ethanol ...
(Date:7/11/2014)... under the normal circumstances, astrocytes participate in ... environment, and exhibit therapeutic and repairing effects ... studies have found that nerve cells differentiated ... have reduced viability, which produces influences on ... Kailuan General Hospital, Hebei United University, China ...
(Date:7/10/2014)... In Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and other major cities in ... watered with treated municipal wastewater rather than precious potable ... more than 40% of all golf courses receive treated ... courses. , Additionally, golf courses and homeowners alike ... nutrient in fertilizer is nitrate. A New Mexico State ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Molecular snapshots of oxygen formation in photosynthesis 2'Tailored' water -- the latest in lawn care 2
... non-native mussels in the Great Lakes has caused ... two of the planet,s largest freshwater lakes, according ... The blitzkrieg advance of two closely related species ... of their life-supporting algae, resulting in a remarkable ...
... 2011 A natural hormone known to inhibit aging can ... researchers have demonstrated. Scientists led by Dr. Makoto Kuro-o, ... hormone Klotho suppressed both renal fibrosis a common complication ... The findings are available online in the Journal of ...
... warming may be the greatest challenge of the present generation. ... the average citizen often wonders what he or she can ... FROM GERMANY,S SUCCESS IN HARNESSING CLEAN ENERGY" (Prometheus Books, $19) ... in the making veteran science and technology journalist Bob ...
Cached Biology News:Invasive mussels causing massive ecological changes in Great Lakes 2Invasive mussels causing massive ecological changes in Great Lakes 3Anti-aging hormone Klotho inhibits renal fibrosis, cancer growth 2Switching to solar 2
(Date:7/10/2014)... Not even geckos and spiders can sit upside down forever. ... have demonstrated this in an article just published in ... industrial benefit. , Geckos and spiders that seem to be ... have fascinated researchers worldwide for many years. We will soon ... same way as the gecko,s foot. But the fact is, ...
(Date:7/10/2014)... University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides new insights ... spin and heat at the nanoscale, and addresses ... data storage and information processing. , "Electrons ... In a typical charge current, electrons, spin-angular-momentum is ... David Cahill, a professor of materials science and ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... akin to assembling a club sandwich at the ... researchers have succeeded in crafting a uniform, multi-walled ... foam commonly used in upholstered furniture and other ... polyurethane foam was reduced 35 percent compared with ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... Ill. , Jan. 15, 2014  Bill Jacobs Automotive, a ... , is teaming up with the Heartland Blood Center and ... blood drive. The drive takes place Saturday, Jan. 18 at ... - 2 p.m. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140115/MN46637 )  ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Even geckos can lose their grip 2University of Illinois study advances limits for ultrafast nano-devices 2Layered security: Carbon nanotubes promise improved flame-resistant coating 2Join the Bill Jacobs Auto blood drive and receive a free oil change 2
... of Convertible Preferred Stock -, DALLAS, Jan. ... announced today that it has executed agreements,for $2.7 ... into agreements,with institutional and accredited investors to purchase ... the Company,s Series A Convertible,Preferred Stock. This equity ...
... Healionics Corporation, a,provider of tissue regeneration and ... it has raised $1.7 million,in a Series A ... Carl Lombardi, former CEO of SpaceLabs Medical and ... & Rejuvenation Center., "We are pleased to ...
... in cash at year end; no equity financings expected ... disease programs to continue in,2008; latest data for all ... - Expansion of research and development investment ... lysosomal diseases in 2008, CRANBURY, N.J., Jan. 29 ...
Cached Biology Technology:Access Pharmaceuticals Announces $2.7 Million New Equity 2Access Pharmaceuticals Announces $2.7 Million New Equity 3Healionics Corporation Completes Series A Financing 2Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 2Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 3Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 4Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 5Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 6Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 7Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 8Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 9Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 10Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 11Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 12Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 13Amicus Therapeutics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results & Program Advancements 14