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Technical Article!

Technical Article


PROCESSING AND APPLICATIONS OF BIOMIMETIC SPIDER SILK

Spider dragline silk exhibits extraordinary mechanical properties combining a moderate strength with good extensibility resulting in a toughness exceeding that of all other natural or synthetic fibers [1]. Although it has been in focus of research since decades, the mechanical properties of reconstituted man-made fibers have never reached those of natural spider silk. The properties are based on the underlying spider silk proteins (spidroins), their self-assembly and their explicit processing [2, 3].

We have tackled two out of three pre-requisites for tough fibers; the contribution of individual spidroin domains to assembly has been analyzed, and processing of recombinant spidroins into fibers is shown. Fiber toughness upon biomimetic processing equals and even slightly exceeds that of natural ones dependent on both the underlying proteins and preparation (self-assembly) of the silk dope [4].

Further, we have established several applications in the field of technical textiles as well as biomedicine [5, 6].

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