Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Producing Spider Silk Fibers

Presenter Information

Cameron CopelandFollow

Class

Article

Department

Biological and Irrigation Engineering

Faculty Mentor

Randy Lewis

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Spider-silk, which is constructed solely of proteins, is the strongest biomaterial fiber. Unfortunately, spiders are cannibalistic and territorial, making them impossible to farm. The alternative is to create a synthetic spider-silk fiber. The spider-silk lab at Utah State University has produced synthetic spider-silk in E. coli, silkworms, goats, and alfalfa plants. The current technique for synthetic fiber formation has yet to be optimized to equal the strength and elasticity of the native silk fibers. Prior research has shown that different parameters in the spin dope, spinning, and post-spin draw of spider-silk fibers can greatly affect its mechanical properties. This research has developed a mechanical system that can perform these treatments while the fiber is being made, thereby creating a system that can be used commercially. The development of this system will be presented. Moving forward, the primary goal of this research is to discover how parameters such as solvents, temperature, speed, additives, and post-spin draw, among other variables, affect the properties of new synthetic spider-silk proteins from all sources. Results from several of these experiments will be presented.

Start Date

4-9-2015 12:00 PM

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Apr 9th, 12:00 PM

Producing Spider Silk Fibers

Spider-silk, which is constructed solely of proteins, is the strongest biomaterial fiber. Unfortunately, spiders are cannibalistic and territorial, making them impossible to farm. The alternative is to create a synthetic spider-silk fiber. The spider-silk lab at Utah State University has produced synthetic spider-silk in E. coli, silkworms, goats, and alfalfa plants. The current technique for synthetic fiber formation has yet to be optimized to equal the strength and elasticity of the native silk fibers. Prior research has shown that different parameters in the spin dope, spinning, and post-spin draw of spider-silk fibers can greatly affect its mechanical properties. This research has developed a mechanical system that can perform these treatments while the fiber is being made, thereby creating a system that can be used commercially. The development of this system will be presented. Moving forward, the primary goal of this research is to discover how parameters such as solvents, temperature, speed, additives, and post-spin draw, among other variables, affect the properties of new synthetic spider-silk proteins from all sources. Results from several of these experiments will be presented.