Spider silk, spider web

Spider silk, spider web

While the density of spider silk is less than that of nylon filaments, its tensile strength is greater than that of steel.



Araneae, spider web, spider, spider silk, orb-weaver spider, weaving a spider web, garden spider, arachnids, silk gland, spinneret, fixed action pattern, chelicera, prosoma, opisthosoma, arthropod, animal, arthropods, biology

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Darwin's bark spider

  • max. 20 mm (0.8 in)


The strongest known spider silk is spun by Darwin's bark spider.

Its orb webs can spread out almost three square meters with anchor lines spanning up to 25 meters (65.6 ft).
Spiders use the silk for various purposes. They produce silk to make webs for hunting, wrap their prey and protect their offspring.

The opisthosoma of the spider contains silk glands that produce silk with different properties for different purposes.

The outer layer of spider silk, the skin, encloses the core. The core contains silk fibrils, certain sections of which form ß-sheet structures.

The key to the high tensile strength of spider silk is that the ß-sheets are very resistant but not elastic. The fibrils between the sheets are ductile, thus giving the silk its flexibility. Spider silk can be stretched up to 3 times its original length but regain its original length afterwards. Its tensile strength is five times greater than that of steel, while its density is less than that of nylon filaments. Due to these special properties, various studies have been carried out to create artificial spider silk.

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