Spider Silk: Brown Recluse Spider's Nanometer Scale Ribbons of Stiff Extensible Silk (Adv. Mater. 48/2013)




The silk fibers of the brown recluse spider feature a unique morphology: they are 50 nm, thin, flat ribbons. H. C. Schniepp and co-workers test the mechanical properties of individual ribbons in their work on page 7028 and find that they are extraordinarily stiff and feature a nanostructured surface. These filaments—fiber and thin film at the same time—are so extremely thin that they easily wrinkle, fold, and stick to themselves as they wrap around the spiky exoskeleton of an ant.