April 21, 2020  |  

A study of the extraordinarily strong and tough silk produced by bagworms.

Authors: Yoshioka, Taiyo and Tsubota, Takuya and Tashiro, Kohji and Jouraku, Akiya and Kameda, Tsunenori

Global ecological damage has heightened the demand for silk as 'a structural material made from sustainable resources'. Scientists have earnestly searched for stronger and tougher silks. Bagworm silk might be a promising candidate considering its superior capacity to dangle a heavy weight, summed up by the weights of the larva and its house. However, detailed mechanical and structural studies on bagworm silks have been lacking. Herein, we show the superior potential of the silk produced by Japan's largest bagworm, Eumeta variegata. This bagworm silk is extraordinarily strong and tough, and its tensile deformation behaviour is quite elastic. The outstanding mechanical property is the result of a highly ordered hierarchical structure, which remains unchanged until fracture. Our findings demonstrate how the hierarchical structure of silk proteins plays an important role in the mechanical property of silk fibres.

Journal: Nature communications
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09350-3
Year: 2019

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