Determinations were made of several physical properties of the viscid and frame silks of the orb-webs built by the spider Araneus sericatus (Cl.).
Both types of silk show a breaking stress of approximately 1 GN/m2 and an initial resilience of approximately 0.35.
The breaking extension ratio of viscid silk (λ = 3.00) is much greater than that of frame silk (λ = 1.25), and the viscid silk relaxes to a relatively greater extent.
These properties are correlated with the degree of crystallization of the protein from which the silk is made, this factor being controlled by the sequence of amino acids in the protein.
The physical properties of the viscid and frame silks allow them to function effectively as shock absorbers and structural elements, respectively; and allow the orb-web to function as an aerial filter with a minimum expenditure of material and energy.
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JOURNAL ARTICLE| 01 October 1976
THE PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF SPIDER'S SILK AND THEIR ROLE IN THE DESIGN OF ORB-WEBS
1 Department of Zoology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Revision Received: 24 Mar 1976
Online Issn: 1477-9145
Print Issn: 0022-0949
© 1976 by Company of Biologists
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MARK DENNY; THE PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF SPIDER'S SILK AND THEIR ROLE IN THE DESIGN OF ORB-WEBS. J Exp Biol 1 October 1976; 65 (2): 483–506. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.65.2.483
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