Strong and tough silk for resilient attachment discs

the mechanical properties of piriform silk in the spider Cupiennius salei (Keyserling, 1877)

Gabriele Greco, Jonas O. Wolff, Nicola M. Pugno*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Spiders are able to produce different types of silk with different mechanical and biological properties. Piriform silk is produced to secure spiders and their webs to surfaces by using a nano-fibril network embedded in a cement-like matrix. Despite their fundamental role, the mechanical properties and function of these anchorages are still poorly understood due to the practical difficulties in nano-fibril sample preparation, the complexity of the system, and the high variation of attachment disc structures. Here we estimated the mechanical properties of this nano-fibril silk and those of the whole silk membrane in the large wandering spider Cupiennius salei through a combination of nanoindentation and nanotensile techniques and with the support of a simple analytical model. The results highlight the mechanical properties of the piriform silk, facilitating the modeling of silk composite mechanics. This could inspire the design of more efficient bio-inspired adhesives and fabrics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Materials
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • spider silk
  • piriform silk
  • attachment disc
  • mechanical properties
  • nanoindentation

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