What are the properties of spider silk?
• Spider silk is a long continuous fiber that is known for its excellent mechanical property, smoothness and biocompatibility with other materials.
• The spider silk is stronger than steel on the basis of weight. The spider silk is a biological protein with a structure that expresses a weak hydrogen bond that displays teamwork and acts as a barrier against the external force and dissipates energy. Thus, regulating the property of this bio-material.
• Spider silk is a quite lightweight material. Although the bonds present in protein structure are weak hydrogen bonds but are often compared with Steel (presence of metallic bonds) and Kevlar (Presence of covalent bond) in terms of toughness and durability.
Being the toughest silk, dragline silk extracted from Golden Orb-Weaving spider (Nephilia clavipes) is thermally stable at 230 and has the ability to retain its strength even at -40. The glass transition temperature for spider silk is 210 while at 75 the non-crystalline regions experience localised mobility.
• The spider silk exhibits excellent elasticity and can stretch up to 40% its original length without breaking. The elasticity of spider silk is due to the presence of helices in the protein structure imparting stringiness to the fiber. Thus, this bio-material can stretch by five to twenty times. The toughness of spider silk is often compared with polyamide.