Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Studies Of Spider's Silk Reveal Unusual Strength

Date:
June 18, 2002
Source:
University Of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
University of California, Santa Barbara scientists and U.S. Army researchers are making progress in the study of spider dragline silk, according to recently published proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Santa Barbara, Calif. –– University of California, Santa Barbara scientists and U.S. Army researchers are making progress in the study of spider dragline silk, according to recently published proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Articles


The protein that lets spiders drop and helps the web to catch prey is what interests the researchers. The molecules are designed to be pulled; they are elastic and very strong. The silk can be extended 30 to 50 percent of its length before it breaks. It is stronger than steel and comparable in strength to Kevlar.

"The last decade has seen a significant increase in the scientific literature on spider dragline silk," according to the proceedings. "This interest is due to the impressive mechanical properties of spider dragline silk, at a time when biomaterials and biomimetics are both exciting interest in the rapidly growing field of materials research."

And why is the U.S. Army interested in this material? "The major interest is to use it as material for bulletproof vests, armor and tethers; there are many possibilities," said first author Emin Oroudjev, a researcher at UC Santa Barbara.

At UC Santa Barbara, the focus is on the basic research of learning how the protein folds and how it is organized in the silk fiber. Using atomic force microscopy and a molecular puller, the researchers are getting clues from imaging and pulling the protein. These observations help the researchers to model what is happening in the silk gland when silk proteins are assembling into spider dragline silk fibers.

They found that when the protein unfolds it is modular. It has sacrificial bonds that open, and then reform when the load lifts. This follows a pattern that has been found in other load-bearing proteins.

Spider silk is a composite material. It has crystalline parts and more rubber-like stretchy parts. The researchers found that single molecules have both, explained Helen Hansma, co-author and adjunct associate professor of physics. Spider silk is a composite material that is novel compared to the other load-bearing proteins that have been studied.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Santa Barbara. "Studies Of Spider's Silk Reveal Unusual Strength." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020618072100.htm>.
University Of California - Santa Barbara. (2002, June 18). Studies Of Spider's Silk Reveal Unusual Strength. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020618072100.htm
University Of California - Santa Barbara. "Studies Of Spider's Silk Reveal Unusual Strength." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020618072100.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins