Advanced Materials

Brown Recluse Spider's Nanometer Scale Ribbons of Stiff Extensible Silk

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Abstract

The silk of the recluse spider features a ribbon-like morphology unlike any other spider silk or synthetically spun polymer fiber. These protein ribbons represent free-standing polymer films with a thickness of about 50 nm. Stress–strain characterization of individual fibers via atomic force microscopy reveals that these ribbons, only a few molecular layers of protein thin, rival the mechanical performance of the best silks.

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