Royal Society Publishing

The effect of spinning conditions on the mechanics of a spider's dragline silk

Fritz Vollrath , Bo Madsen , Zhengzhong Shao

Abstract

We studied the mechanical properties of dragline threads of the edible golden silk spider Nephila edulis that are produced under spinning speeds ranging from 0.1 to 400 mm s−1 and temperatures ranging from 5 to 40°C. These conditions affected the silk in all of the mechanical traits we tested (strain at breaking, breaking energy, initial Young's modulus and point of yielding). We argue that both trade–offs (between mechanical properties) and constraints (in the manufacturing process) have a large role in defining spider silk fibres.

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