Preparation and mechanical properties of layers made of recombinant spider silk proteins and silk from silk worm


Layers of recombinant spider silks and native silks from silk worms were prepared by spin-coating and casting of various solutions. FT-IR spectra were recorded to investigate the influence of the different mechanical stress occurring during the preparation of the silk layers. The solubility of the recombinant spider silk proteins SO1-ELP, C16, AQ24NR3, and of the silk fibroin from Bombyx mori were investigated in hexafluorisopropanol, ionic liquids and concentrated salt solutions. The morphology and thickness of the layers were determined by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) or with a profilometer. The mechanical behaviour was investigated by acoustic impedance analysis by using a quartz crystal microbalance (QCMB) as well as by microindentation.

The density of silk layers (d<300 nm) was determined based on AFM and QCMB measurements. At silk layers thicker than 300 nm significant changes of the half-band-half width can be correlated with increasing energy dissipation. Microhardness measurements demonstrate that recombinant spider silk and sericine-free Bombyx mori silk layers achieve higher elastic penetration modules EEP and Martens hardness values HM than those of polyethylenterephthalate (PET) and polyetherimide (PEI) foils.

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Correspondence to U. Spohn.

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Junghans, F., Morawietz, M., Conrad, U. et al. Preparation and mechanical properties of layers made of recombinant spider silk proteins and silk from silk worm. Appl. Phys. A 82, 253–260 (2006).

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  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Ionic Liquid
  • Quartz Crystal Microbalance
  • HFIP
  • Silk Protein