Why doesn’t a spider’s web sag in the wind or catapult flies back out like a trampoline? The answer, according to new research by an international team of scientists, lies in the physics behind a ‘hybrid’ material produced by spiders for their webs.
Pulling on a sticky thread in a garden spider’s orb web and letting it snap back reveals that the thread never sags but always stays taut – even when stretched to many times its original length. This is because any loose thread is immediately spooled inside the tiny droplets of watery glue that coat and surround the core gossamer fibres of the web’s capture spiral.
This phenomenon is described in the journal PNAS by scientists from the University of Oxford, UK and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.
The researchers studied the details of this ‘liquid wire’ technique in spiders’ webs and used it to create composite fibres in the laboratory which, just like the spider’s capture silk, extend like a solid and compress like a liquid. These novel insights may lead to new bio-inspired technology.
Professor Fritz Vollrath of the Oxford Silk Group in the Department of Zoology at Oxford University said: ‘The thousands of tiny droplets of glue that cover the capture spiral of the spider’s orb web do much more than make the silk sticky and catch the fly. Surprisingly, each drop packs enough punch in its watery skins to reel in loose bits of thread. And this winching behaviour is used to excellent effect to keep the threads tight at all times, as we can all observe and test in the webs in our gardens.’
The novel properties observed and analysed by the scientists rely on a subtle balance between fibre elasticity and droplet surface tension. Importantly, the team was also able to recreate this technique in the laboratory using oil droplets on a plastic filament. And this artificial system behaved just like the spider’s natural winch silk, with spools of filament reeling and unreeling inside the oil droplets as the thread extended and contracted.
Dr Hervé Elettro, the first author and a doctoral researcher at Institut Jean Le Rond D’Alembert, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, said: ‘Spider silk has been known to be an extraordinary material for around 40 years, but it continues to amaze us. While the web is simply a high-tech trap from the spider’s point of view, its properties have a huge amount to offer the worlds of materials, engineering and medicine.
‘Our bio-inspired hybrid threads could be manufactured from virtually any components. These new insights could lead to a wide range of applications, such as microfabrication of complex structures, reversible micro-motors, or self-tensioned stretchable systems.’
Learn more: Scientists create novel ‘liquid wire’ material inspired by spiders’ capture silk
The Latest on: Bio-inspired hybrid threads
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Bio-inspired hybrid threads” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Bio-inspired hybrid threads
- Lamborghini Unveils Revolutionary Aeronautics-Inspired Chassis In Anticipation Of Upcoming Hybrid Supercaron March 17, 2023 at 4:23 pm
In the run-up to the release of their groundbreaking hybrid plug-in V12 High Performance ... Lamborghini has designed a cutting-edge, aeronautics-inspired chassis they call the "monofuselage ...
- Bio-Reference Laboratorieson March 12, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc. provides clinical laboratory testing, information and related services to physician offices, clinics, hospitals, employers and governmental units. It offers a ...
- Bio-inspired Material Can Follow the Sunon March 10, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Researchers have developed new, bio-inspired materials that can move in response to different stimuli. The materials—called liquid-crystal elastomers (LCEs)—could be used to develop solar panels that ...
- 2023-2029 Bio-inspired Robotics Market Size and Risks Factors Analysis | Survey Report by Absolute Reportson March 9, 2023 at 5:26 am
Global "Bio-inspired Robotics Market" [NEW REVIEW 2023] report analyses the best market prospects and lists the characteristics that are and will continue to propel the development of the sector.
- Bio-inspired "plasmonic paint" could make regular paint a thing of the paston March 8, 2023 at 4:00 pm
"As a result, underlying surfaces reportedly stay 25 to 30 ºF (14 to 17 ºC) cooler than if they were coated with traditional paint of the same color." That depends on the colour. Any paint other ...
- Honda Unveil CR-V Hybrid Racer Inspired By Indycaron March 6, 2023 at 4:42 am
Honda has unveiled an extreme new hybrid version of their CR-V car that’s been fitted with an Indycar Series race car’s 800bhp hybrid V6. Dubbed the ‘Beast’, the Hybrid Racer is a "rolling ...
- Cooling solar panels with bio-inspired coconut fiberon February 27, 2023 at 12:42 am
Malaysian scientists have tested bio-inspired coconut fiber to cool down solar modules. The cooling system features a moist coconut pith encapsulated with a polyurethane sheet. It is placed on the ...
- Bio-inspired Mechanicson February 10, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Take a dozen or so fish hooks, progressively embed them in plastic with a 3D printer and attach them to the feet of your hexapod and you’ve got a giant cockroach! A team of researchers at ...
- Bio-Inspired Flight Labon December 4, 2022 at 1:14 am
The Bio-Inspired Flight Lab led by Dr Shane Windsor investigates aerodynamic, sensing and control aspects of animal flight and how we can use bio-inspiration to improve engineered technologies, ...
- bio-inspired hydrokinetic energy system (IMAGE)on August 2, 2021 at 12:26 pm
The team's innovative bio-inspired hydrokinetic energy system with a river-focused approach has the potential to expand access to cleaner, more cost-effective power sources, especially for rural ...
via Bing News