Paper: Toughness-Enhancing Microloops in Recluse Ribbon Silk

We show that the recluse spider (Loxosceles genus) spins its 50 nm-thin silk ribbons into sacrificial micro-loops, providing inspiration for the design of toughened uniaxial metamaterials. The loops of the ribbon-like strand are anchored by silk-to-silk bonds that do not compromise the fiber's ultimate strength upon release and require no additional adhesive. The silk's thin ribbon morphology facilitates the formation of these strong yet sacrificial bonds and reduces the risk of failure due to bending. Modeling and an experimental proof of concept are used to demonstrate that a looped ribbon metastructure can considerably enhance a material's toughness.

See our Press Release: Looped Ribbon Silk.

Our paper has been published in the journal Materials Horizons (2016 impact factor: 10.7).


S. R. Koebley, F. Vollrath, H. C. Schniepp*
“Toughness-enhancing metastructure in the recluse spider's looped ribbon silk”
Materials Horizons 4, 377-382 (2017)

Manuscript: PDF Download
Supporting Information: PDF Download
DOI: 10.1039/C6MH00473C
Publisher's Web Page:

Media Coverage of This Work

On TV, Video, and Radio Interviews

Mar 2017 The U.S. National Science Foundation produces a video feature of our breakthrough on the loops of the brown recluse spider in their Science Now—Science 360 show (Episode 50). thum_nsf.jpg
Feb 2017 Discovery Channel Canada] airs a TV feature of our brown recluse looped silk discovery in their science show Daily Planet (7:00 pm show on February 15). thum_dailyplanet.jpg
Feb 2017 BBC radio interview: On Feb. 20, the BBC aired a 5-minute radio interview with Prof. Schniepp on the group's recent breakthough on the looped recluse silk. Now available here (The Naked Scientists).
Feb 2017 ABC Australia radio interview: On Feb. 24, the BBC interview was also aired on the other side of the world. Now available here (The Naked Scientists).
Feb 2017 The Naked Scientists, a British science podcast, features Prof. Schniepp's BBC interview on their web page, including a written story and images: link.
Feb 2017 The Daily Press has a video feature on our silk research. daily_press_thumb.jpg

In Print Media

Feb 2017 The Daily Press (Hampton Roads newspaper), front page, "Recluse spider silk could hold the key to space-age materials" daily_press_thumb.jpg

Online Media

Feb 2017 Chemistry World (The Royal Society of Chemistry), "Spider silk strength is in the loop"
Feb 2017 Oxford News (University of Oxford), "Deadly spider’s spinning technique could inspire tougher materials" oxford_spider_thumb.jpg
Feb 2017 Inside Science (American Institute of Physics), "Loops Give Extra Toughness to Recluse Spider Silk" inside_sci_thumb.jpg
Feb 2017 Seeker, Venomous brown recluse spiders produce incredibly strong web silk that could be copied for multiple uses, including snagging space junk: "Deadly Spider Sews Industrial-Strength Silk Strands" inside_sci_thumb.jpg
Feb 2017 W&M News, "The brown recluse spider engineers extra-strong silk by spinning loops onto a flat strand"

public/publications/2017-02-15_looped_silk_ribbons.txt · Last modified: 2020/11/24 10:52 by BenSkopic