With great structure comes great functionality: Understanding and emulating spider silk

Brown, Cameron P., Whaite, Alessandra D., MacLeod, Jennifer M., Macdonald, Joanne, & Rosei, Federico (2015) With great structure comes great functionality: Understanding and emulating spider silk. Journal of Materials Research, 30(01), pp. 108-120.

View at publisher


The overarching aim of biomimetic approaches to materials synthesis is to mimic simultaneously the structure and function of a natural material, in such a way that these functional properties can be systematically tailored and optimized. In the case of synthetic spider silk fibers, to date functionalities have largely focused on mechanical properties. A rapidly expanding body of literature documents this work, building on the emerging knowledge of structure–function relationships in native spider silks, and the spinning processes used to create them. Here, we describe some of the benchmark achievements reported until now, with a focus on the last five years. Progress in protein synthesis, notably the expression on full-size spidroins, has driven substantial improvements in synthetic spider silk performance. Spinning technology, however, lags behind and is a major limiting factor in biomimetic production. We also discuss applications for synthetic silk that primarily capitalize on its nonmechanical attributes, and that exploit the remarkable range of structures that can be formed from a synthetic silk feedstock.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
3 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 89973
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1557/jmr.2014.365
ISSN: 2044-5326
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Materials Research Society
Deposited On: 04 Apr 2016 03:40
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2016 21:00

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page