Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 43, Issue 10, pp 3728–3732 | Cite as

Deformation micromechanics of spider silk

  • Victoria L. Brookes
  • Robert J. YoungEmail author
  • Fritz Vollrath

The physical and mechanical properties of spider silk have been the subject of analysis and much speculation over the past 40 years [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Their study has been complicated by the fact that the mechanical properties of these fibres have evolved over evolutionary times and thus respond in a complex way to both external (e.g. temperature and hydration [4]) and internal (e.g. pH environment, extrusion speed [8]) conditions during ‘spinning’. However, modern spectroscopic methods are rapidly changing our views of silks and their internal structures. This article sets out to examine the role of Raman Spectroscopy (RS) [6, 7] and the information it provides about the effect of mechanical deformation on the molecular strains and stresses in silks produced at different processing speeds.

Spider dragline silk combines great strength with unmatched elasticity. It has extensions to failure of up to 35% [1, 9] at tensile strengths up to 3 GPa and with moduli up to 10 GPa; all of...


Natural Rubber Raman Spectroscopy Silk Fibre Spider Silk Fibre Deformation 



This work was sponsored by the EPSRC, which also supported one of the authors (VLB) through a research studentship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria L. Brookes
    • 1
  • Robert J. Young
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fritz Vollrath
    • 2
  1. 1.Materials Science Centre, School of MaterialsUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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