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Keywords:

  • polymer fibers;
  • silk;
  • polarized-light imaging;
  • shear-induced crystallization;
  • rheology
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

It is shown that the work required to produce natural silk fibers is at least ten times less than a classic synthetic polymer, yet still nature produces a fiber with superior mechanical properties. The concept of polymer crystallization is (re)defined and silks are classed as a new nanocomposite state of biological matter called aquamelts.