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On the origin of supercontraction in spider silk

noyco's picture

Spider silk is a protein material that exhibits extraordinary and nontrivial properties such as the ability to soften and decrease its length by up to ∼60% upon exposure to high humidity. This counter-intuitive process is commonly called supercontraction and is the result of a transition from a highly oriented glassy phase to a disoriented rubbery phase. In our new paper (published in biomacromolecules) we derive a model that explains the origins of the supercontraction phenomena. The insights from this work motivate the development of novel biomimetic materials.

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