Biomechanics of Spider Silks
OXFORD UNIV (UNITED KINGDOM) DEPT OF ZOOLOGY
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This project aims to gain a fuller understanding of the relationship between processing, structure and mechanical properties of selected spider and silkworm silks. This goal will be pursued by inducing spiders and silkworms to produce threads under a range of controlled processing conditions. The mechanical properties of these fibres will be determined by analysing again under highly controlled conditions e.g. temperature, humidity the mechanical behaviour of single filaments under simple stress-strain regimes as well as for cyclic deformation, creep and stress relaxation. These experiments will provide data on the stress-strain relationships of the whole fibre. Some individual components of the fibre fine-structure under loading will be further investigated using a combination of micro-Raman spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction. The mechanical data combined with data on fibre structure will serve to develop and test a battery of specific models for the silks under examination. These models must account for the relative importance of the different hierarchical structural levels for the mechanical properties of silks, to-date no such models exist. Initially these models will be encompassing, as the silks we are studying differ in molecular structure as well as production system. The results of this study will be invaluable not only for understanding native silks but also for the design and spinning be it biomimetic or traditional of improved synthetic silk- analogue polymers.
- Properties of Metals and Alloys