Date of Graduation

Summer 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Major

Chemistry

Research Sponsor

Professor Ali Dhinojwala

First Reader

Professor Todd Blackledge

Second Reader

Professor Claire Tessier

Abstract

Spider silk applications, and applications of composite materials generally, are limited due to lack of recovery once damaged. Viscid silk, however, is known to have self-healing capabilities which restore, at least partially, its initial properties. If maximized, this ability could potentially increase viscid silk’s practicality and ultimately, provide insight into a self-healing system of use in synthetics. To that end, samples of viscid silk spun by female Larinioides cornutus spiders were tested via cyclical loading at 3 different relative humidities, with 3 different rest period lengths between complete cycles. Data from previously-performed tensile tests conducted at the same 3 humidities was used to determine the maximum strains for the cyclical tests. Work of extension data and hysteresis data were analyzed to determine trends in recovery related to humidity and length of the rest period. Data indicated that recovery in viscid silk increases with humidity. Data also gave indications that recovery increases with rest period length under certain conditions.

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