Properties

You might ask why we believe that spider silk is one of the most interesting material, here are some arguments.

Strength

Spider silks possess remarkable mechanical properties. It is a unique blend of high tensile strength and extensibility. Spider silk is tough. It is five times stronger than steel and two times that of Kevlar. It is hardest material known to-date because of its maximum load bearing ability and elasticity.

Elasticity

Some spider silk types can extend to 140% of their original length without breaking. Spider dragline silk has maximum mechanical strength. Its load tolerance ability is equivalent to that of the artificial polymer Kevlar and stronger than our tendons. These mechanical properties can be correlated with its chemical composition.

Weight

Spider silks, as other silk, are mainly made of proteins which makes its density about a sixth of steel density (1.3 g/cm3). This allows these materials to resist to huge mechanical stress while reducing the weight drastically.

Vision thermique course F1

Temperature resilience

Moreover, the spider silk holds its mechanical toughness over a broad range of temperatures i.e. -66 to 100°C. The strength of silk fiber increases remarkably by lowering the temperature. Studies have shown that at very low temperature (-196 °C) strength of fiber enhanced by 64% as compared to strength at room temperature. Also, spider silks can withstand much higher temperature than petrol based polymers.

Adaptability

Possession of the unique and extraordinary mechanical properties makes spider silk far more superior than the man-made artificial fibers. In addition, the properties of these silks depend on the concentration of each types of proteins and their binding. Mastering those parameters allows to manipulate the building blocks of the spider silks to tailor new materials specifically for any further high performance application.