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Nature. 2006 Mar 30;440(7084):621.

Biopolymers: shape memory in spider draglines.

Author information

1
Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers, UMR CNRS 6627, Université de Rennes 1, 35042 Rennes, France. olivier.emile@univ-rennes1.fr

Abstract

The ductility and strength of spider draglines means that they outperform the best synthetic fibres, but surprisingly little is known about the torsional properties of this remarkable filament. Unlike a mountain climber swinging from a rope, a spider suspended from its silk thread hardly ever twists. Here we show that a spider dragline has a torsional shape 'memory' in that it can reversibly and totally recover its initial form without any external stimulus; its observed relaxation dynamics indicate that these biological molecules have successively different torsional constants.

PMID:
16572162
DOI:
10.1038/440621a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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