We examined the mechanical characteristics of four major ampullate (MA) dragline silks during and after submersion in a range of solvents. The silks were reeled from four very different spiders: Araneus diadematus, Nephila edulis, Latrodectus mactans and Euprosthenops sp. They displayed significant differences in behaviour in the native state as well as during and after supercontraction in solvents such as water, urea solution and a set of alcohols. The different polarities of the solvents are thought to affect different regions of the silk’s molecular conformation. We hypothesise that the observed mechanical properties of dragline silks are those of a hard elastic polymer; and we explain the supercontraction of the silks as changes of orientation in the molecular chains.
Посилання на статтю:
The effect of solvents on the contraction and mechanical properties of spider silk / Zhengzhong Shao, Fritz Vollrath // Polymer. – 1999. – N 40. – P. 1799–1806.