Spider Saccodomus formivorus weaves silk that is uniquely tough and so durable that the basket net cannot
“As far as we know, no other spideris building such a network, ”said Professor Mark Elgar of the University of Melbourne's School of Biosciences. "This silk retains its stiffness, allowing it to create a deadly ant trap."
Collaboration between the University of Melbourne andThe University of Bayreuth with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization is likely to generate a lot of interest. A recent study found that the silk used to create the basket webs is similar to the silk that many spider species use to wrap their brood against the weather and enemies.
The spider web is only found in Australia. Its basket is approximately 11mm in diameter and 14mm deep. The nature of silk was revealed by the Australian Synchrotron, the national institution of the Australian Organization for Nuclear Science and Technology in southeast Melbourne. The Australian Synchrotron is a 3 GeV electron accelerator and a specialized source of X-ray synchrotron radiation with a critical photon energy of 7.8 keV.
Professor Thomas Scheibel of the University of Bayreuth stated that the stiffness of silk appears to be the result of a synergistic arrangement of microfibers and submicron fibers.
“Nature has created a complex structure thatAt first glance, it resembles commercially produced composites, ”explains Professor Scheibel, who led the study from Germany. “Further studies, however, have shown that they are chemically different components, and together their properties lead to the extreme elasticity and toughness of the yarn. This is what ensures the high degree of strength of the web. "
Although there is much to be doneworking to understand the molecular details of silk, Professor Scheibel said there is potential interest in new genetic material that can be produced in a scalable manner.
“An interesting feature is the hightransverse stiffness, as well as adhesives, which may be useful in various designs, but it will take some time before this becomes possible, ”the scientists conclude.
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