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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Advances in the use of spiders for direct spinning of nanomaterials-reinforced bionic silk

Greco, Gabriele; Valentini, Luca; Pugno, Nicola M.


This paper deals with the possibility of merging spider silk with nanomaterials by directly feeding them to the spiders. Indeed, creating a soft "bionicomposite " with enhanced mechanical and/or other multifunctional properties, e.g., electric, magnetic, etc., is attractive for material science. Pugno and co-workers were the first to expose spiders to carbon-based nanomaterials, reporting promising results in terms of silk maximal reinforcements. In a subsequent paper, Kelly and co-workers used a different approach and did not obtain any significant strengthening in the silk. These different results highlight the importance of exploring the issue better. In this work, spiders were exposed to nanomaterial solutions with different protocols, and the properties of their silk were monitored for 14 days, displaying a strong protocol influence and inherent day-to-day variability (up to 300% of a single property). This made this paper's results aligned with both the previous mentioned works, pinpointing the key challenge to merging silk and nanomaterials using spiders. This work should stimulate further studies and discussion on the topic. (C) 2022 Author(s).

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APL materials
2022, Volume: 10, number: 10, article number: 101111
Publisher: AIP Publishing

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