Non-invasive determination of the complete elastic moduli of spider silks

Kristie J. Koski, Paul Akhenblit, Keri McKiernan, Jeffery Yarger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spider silks possess nature's most exceptional mechanical properties, with unrivalled extensibility and high tensile strength. Unfortunately, our understanding of silks is limited because the complete elastic response has never been measured - leaving a stark lack of essential fundamental information. Using non-invasive, non-destructive Brillouin light scattering, we obtain the entire stiffness tensors (revealing negative Poisson's ratios), refractive indices, and longitudinal and transverse sound velocities for major and minor ampullate spider silks: Argiope aurantia, Latrodectus hesperus, Nephila clavipes, Peucetia viridans. These results completely quantify the linear elastic response for all possible deformation modes, information unobtainable with traditional stress-strain tests. For completeness, we apply the principles of Brillouin imaging to spatially map the elastic stiffnesses on a spider web without deforming or disrupting the web in a non-invasive, non-contact measurement, finding variation among discrete fibres, junctions and glue spots. Finally, we provide the stiffness changes that occur with supercontraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalNature materials
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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