Polymer Science Faculty Research

Title

Spider Silk Inspired Functional Microthreads

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-7-2011

Abstract

We employ the adhesive web building strategy used by modern orb-weaving spiders to produce functional microthreads that are similar in structure (beads-on-a-string (BOAS) morphology) and adhesive properties to the capture-silk threads of the spider web. The diameter and spacing of droplets (beads) are controlled by varying the viscosity, velocity, and surface tension of the coating fluid. Using these functional threads, we also describe the behavior of the BOAS morphology during contact (mimicking the collision of an insect with the web) and during separation (mimicking insect rescue from the web). Our results show that the BOAS structure performs better than a cylindrical structure for adhesion, which may explain why this morphology is so prevalent in spider webs despite the cost of increasing the visibility of the web.

Publication Title

Langmuir

Volume

28

Issue

4

First Page

2206

Last Page

2210