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Basic Principles in the Design of Spider Silk Fibers

Centro de Tecnología Biomédica, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28223 Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Ciencia de Materiales, ETSI Caminos, Canales y Puertos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Biomedical Research Networking Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN), 28029 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yasumoto Nakazawa
Molecules 2021, 26(6), 1794;
Received: 26 February 2021 / Revised: 15 March 2021 / Accepted: 18 March 2021 / Published: 23 March 2021
The prominence of spider silk as a hallmark in biomimetics relies not only on its unrivalled mechanical properties, but also on how these properties are the result of a set of original design principles. In this sense, the study of spider silk summarizes most of the main topics relevant to the field and, consequently, offers a nice example on how these topics could be considered in other biomimetic systems. This review is intended to present a selection of some of the essential design principles that underlie the singular microstructure of major ampullate gland silk, as well as to show how the interplay between them leads to the outstanding tensile behavior of spider silk. Following this rationale, the mechanical behavior of the material is analyzed in detail and connected with its main microstructural features, specifically with those derived from the semicrystalline organization of the fibers. Establishing the relationship between mechanical properties and microstructure in spider silk not only offers a vivid image of the paths explored by nature in the search for high performance materials, but is also a valuable guide for the development of new artificial fibers inspired in their natural counterparts. View Full-Text
Keywords: spider silk; mechanical properties; X ray diffraction; spider silk standardization initiative (S3I) spider silk; mechanical properties; X ray diffraction; spider silk standardization initiative (S3I)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pérez-Rigueiro, J.; Elices, M.; Plaza, G.R.; Guinea, G.V. Basic Principles in the Design of Spider Silk Fibers. Molecules 2021, 26, 1794.

AMA Style

Pérez-Rigueiro J, Elices M, Plaza GR, Guinea GV. Basic Principles in the Design of Spider Silk Fibers. Molecules. 2021; 26(6):1794.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pérez-Rigueiro, José, Manuel Elices, Gustavo R. Plaza, and Gustavo V. Guinea 2021. "Basic Principles in the Design of Spider Silk Fibers" Molecules 26, no. 6: 1794.

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