Understanding Natural Silks and Their Integration into Composites
Final rept. 15 Mar 2009-3 Nov 2011
OXFORD UNIV (UNITED KINGDOM) DEPT OF ZOOLOGY
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The extreme toughness of many spider silks depends i on the folding of the component proteins as much as ii on the hierarchical structures of the multi-protein threads. The spiders complex spinning process plays a major role in the folding and formation of the hierarchy of the silk threads. This is a process that is largely devoted to the controlled extraction of water. Our research project offered, firstly, an important approach towards a full understanding of silk structure-properties relationships by examining the underlying principles and design characteristics responsible not only for dehydration of silk feedstock into silk fibre but also for re-hydration, i.e. the reconstitution and reformation of silk fibre into silk feedstock. The second goal of our research was a better understanding of the use of silks in composites to this effect we expanded our studies of analyzing silks integrated into natural composites by beginning exploratory investigations of interactions and integration with syntheticcommercial matrix materials.
- Laminates and Composite Materials