Spider silk with weaker bonding resulting in higher strength and toughness through progressive unfolding and load transfer

Yoonjung Kim, Hyunsung Choi, Inchul Baek, Sungsoo Na

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The superior mechanical properties of silk is known to come partly from its hydrogen bonds, which is determined by its amino acid sequences. Hydrogen bonds are one of the main sources of strength of silk fiber, yet the toughest silk fibers have amino acids sequences that results in lesser number of hydrogen bonds than other silk fibers. In this work, we show how such silk fiber with lower number of hydrogen bonds may result in fiber with higher toughness by investigating the process of how hydrogen bond characteristics of silk are translated into its mechanical properties. From the tensile pulling tests via molecular dynamics simulations on silk fiber with varying number of hydrogen bonds, the mechanism of how weaker bonded silk results in higher strength and toughness by synergic effect with the characteristic progressive unfolding and load transfer of silk fiber is explained. The results provide new perspectives on how silk and other fibers should be designed to achieve higher toughness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103773
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Volume108
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug

Keywords

  • Amino acid sequence
  • Hydrogen bond
  • Material design
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Spider silk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials

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