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Nat Mater. 2013 Mar;12(3):262-7. doi: 10.1038/nmat3549. Epub 2013 Jan 27.

Non-invasive determination of the complete elastic moduli of spider silks.

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1
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Abstract

Spider silks possess nature's most exceptional mechanical properties, with unrivalled extensibility and high tensile strength. Unfortunately, our understanding of silks is limited because the complete elastic response has never been measured-leaving a stark lack of essential fundamental information. Using non-invasive, non-destructive Brillouin light scattering, we obtain the entire stiffness tensors (revealing negative Poisson's ratios), refractive indices, and longitudinal and transverse sound velocities for major and minor ampullate spider silks: Argiope aurantia, Latrodectus hesperus, Nephila clavipes, Peucetia viridans. These results completely quantify the linear elastic response for all possible deformation modes, information unobtainable with traditional stress-strain tests. For completeness, we apply the principles of Brillouin imaging to spatially map the elastic stiffnesses on a spider web without deforming or disrupting the web in a non-invasive, non-contact measurement, finding variation among discrete fibres, junctions and glue spots. Finally, we provide the stiffness changes that occur with supercontraction.

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PMID:
23353627
DOI:
10.1038/nmat3549

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