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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Structure-function relationship of artificial spider silk fibers produced by straining flow spinning

Gonska, Nathalie; López, Patricia A.; Lozano-Picazo, Paloma; Thorpe, Michael; Guinea, Gustavo V.; Johansson, Jan; Barth, Andreas; Pérez-Rigueiro, José; Rising, Anna


The production of large quantities of artificial spider silk fibers that match the mechanical properties of the native material has turned out to be challenging. Recent advancements in the field make biomimetic spinning approaches an attractive way forward since they allow the spider silk proteins to assemble into the secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structures that are characteristic of the native silk fiber. Straining flow spinning (SFS) is a newly developed and versatile method that allows production under a wide range of processing conditions. Here, we use a recombinant spider silk protein that shows unprecedented water solubility and that is capable of native-like assembly, and we spin it into fibers by the SFS technique. We show that fibers may be spun using different hydrodynamical and chemical conditions and conclude that these spinning conditions affect fiber mechanics. In particular, it was found that the addition of acetonitrile and polyethylene glycol to the collection bath results in fibers with increased β-sheet content and improved mechanical properties.

Published in

2020, Volume: 21, number: 6, pages: 2116-2124