Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Randolph V. Lewis


Two major hurdles face the production of recombinant spider silk protein (rSSp) based materials. First, the production of sufficient quantities of rSSp has proven difficult due to their highly repetitive nature and protein size (>250kDa). Secondly, rSSp and native silks are practically insoluble in water based solutions, necessitating the use of harsh organic solvents that can remain in the material after production. While others are working on solving production problems, this dissertation demonstrates a novel aqueous solubilization method that is rapid (<1 minute) and results in near 100% solubilization of the rSSp. From this new solubilization method films, foams, gels (hydrogels and lyogels), adhesives, coatings and fibers have been produced as well as the previously unreported sponge. All of these novel materials were derived from entirely aqueous solutions with and without minor additives to influence the final physical state of the rSSp.

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