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Clever use of spinning technology, artificial spider silk fiber performance again improved

Time : 2022-05-16 Hits : 19

Nature has inspired people to prepare various bionic structures. The excellent strength and toughness of natural spider silk is mainly due to its special hierarchical structure, such as β -sheet crosslinking points, spiral nanomodules with highly arranged molecular chains and rigid sheaths and soft cores. Many researchers have simulated these properties to achieve better properties of artificial fibers. However, it remains a challenge to skillfully utilize the spinning process and simultaneously realize these hierarchical characteristics.


Zun-feng liu recently, nankai university, China pharmaceutical university Zhou Xiang mei-fang zhu with donghua university research team inspired by spider silk protein structure, the preparation of a kind of soluble crosslinking nano gel, similar spider silk spinning and the hierarchical structure of crosslinked fiber, as the direct spinning fiber materials with high strength and high tenacity provides a new strategy.


β -flakes in spider silk proteins act as cross-linking points, and their cross-linking networks are located within nanosized globular proteins. As a result, spider silk proteins are soluble and can be spun directly into layered fibers by self-assembly. Inspired by the structure and spinning process of spider silk, researchers prepared soluble nanogels with internal cross-linking network. Nanogels suitable for different monomers were prepared by controlling the concentration of cross-linking agent in the process of free radical polymerization. When the content of crosslinking agent increases from 0.15% to 1.05%, the diameter and aggregation amount of nano-gel macromolecules increase gradually.


To investigate the relationship between the tensile spinning capacity of the nanogel and its particle size, the researchers spun the fibers on a mechanical tester until the fibers broke while measuring the mechanical stress. The theoretical model predicts that the critical stress is inversely proportional to the square root of the radius of the nanoparticles.


In order to further investigate whether the size and arrangement of nanocomponents can be adjusted by adding nucleating particles to improve the mechanical properties of the fibers, the researchers prepared the single-walled carbon nanotubes/polydopamine (SWNT-PDA) complex, and synthesized the nanogel with 0.15% crosslinking agent in the presence of SWNt-PDA. The influence of nucleating particles on the structure and properties of nano-gel fibers was studied. The results show that with the increase of THE content of SWnT-PDA, the fracture strength, fracture strain and toughness of the nanogel fibers show an increasing trend, and the nanocomponents are arranged more neatly and the average diameter decreases.


By prestretching, the molecular chain arrangement is significantly increased and the average fiber diameter is decreased. For fibers with 50% pretensile strain, the structural evolution significantly improves the mechanical strength and reduces the elongation at break. After further twisting optimization, the combination of fiber breaking strength of 1.27gpa and toughness of 383MJ /m3 is finally achieved, which is very close to the performance value of natural spider silk.

The related work was published in Advanced Materials under the title "Protein-like Nanogel for Spinning Hierarchically Structured Artificial Spider Silk".

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