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    The prominence of spider silk as a hallmark in biomimetics relies not only on its unrivalled mechanical properties, but also on how these properties are the result of a set of original design principles. In this sense, the study of spider silk summarizes most of the main topics relevant to the field and, consequently, offers a nice example on how these topics could be considered in other biomimetic systems. This review is intended to present a selection of some of the essential design principles that underlie the singular microstructure of major ampullate gland silk, as well as to show how the interplay between them leads to the outstanding tensile behavior of spider silk. Following this rationale, the mechanical behavior of the material is analyzed in detail and connected with its main microstructural features, specifically with those derived from the semicrystalline organization of the fibers. Establishing the relationship between mechanical properties and microstructure in spider silk not only offers a vivid image of the paths explored by nature in the search for high performance materials, but is also a valuable guide for the development of new artificial fibers inspired in their natural counterparts.


    José Pérez-Rigueiro, Manuel Elices, Gustavo R Plaza, Gustavo V Guinea. Basic Principles in the Design of Spider Silk Fibers. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2021 Mar 23;26(6)

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    PMID: 33806736

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