Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Biological and Irrigation Engineering

First Advisor

Randolph V. Lewis

Second Advisor

V. Dean Adams


Spider silk is one of nature's most promising biomaterial s for a variety of applications, however, due to the inability to farm spiders, transgenic hosts are required for large-scale production. With the unique combination of strength, elasticity, and biocompatibility, spider silk has an incredible potential for use in the human body. This study was conducted to merge two major applications of spider silk for the creation of a novel bandaging product. Electrospinning technology was utilized to create a spider silk/polymer bandage matrix to be applied with an aqueous spider silk skin adhesive.

In designing the bandaging matrix , the mechanical properties of the electrospun silk were evaluated against commercially-available product s and known values of human skin. The chosen formulation had physical properties more comparable human skin than commercially-available products. The aqueous adhesive was tested in conjunction with the electro spun matrix for its adhesion and found comparable to commercial products. The durability of the bandage was tested via cyclic stresses and found analogous to commercial products. The common antimicrobial chlorhexidine was incorporated into the adhesive and had a release profile lasting about 4 days. With this incorporation into the aqueous adhesive, the adhesive can be reapplied to provide additional antimicrobial protection, a necessity in the healthcare industry. The bandaging showed no signs of inhibiting mammalian cell proliferation under cytotoxicity testing.

The final product, deemed "SpiderSkin," presents a unique bandaging solution capable of providing a healthy environment for the regeneration of epidermal tissue, while protecting the wound from outside infection , and providing mechanical stability similar to that of human skin.