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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.
Bibliographical noteCopyright 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
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