Spider Thread

Posted on August 20, 2006  Comments (3)

Spider hanging by its thread

Why a spider hanging from a thread does not rotate

The extraordinary properties of spider’s thread are like a blessing for researchers working on polymers. However, the amazing twisting properties it displays are still not very well understood. How can one explain the fact that a spider suspended by a thread remains completely motionless, instead of rotating like a climber does at the end of a rope?

Spider’s thread, on the other hand, is very efficient at absorbing oscillations, regardless of air resistance, and retains its twisting properties during the experiments. It also returns to its exact original shape. Certain alloys, such as Nitinol, possess similar properties but must be heated to 90° to return to their original shape.

The amazing properties of spider’s thread have been known for several years: its ductility, strength and hardness surpass those of the most complex synthetics fibers

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3 Responses to “Spider Thread”

  1. CuriousCat: 60 Acre (24 hectare) Spider Web
    September 13th, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

    “A biology professor in northern British Columbia has spotted a clover field crawling with spiders. Brian Thair of the College of New Caledonia in Prince George said he saw a silky, white web stretching 60 acres across a field…”

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Thousands of Spiders Build Huge Web
    January 27th, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

    “Researchers say they now believe thousands of spiders from different species worked together to make one huge web — much different from the traditional individual webs that would normally be woven…”

  3. Curious Cat » Secrets of Spider Silk’s Strength
    March 27th, 2008 @ 7:10 am

    “The strength of a biological material like spider silk lies in the specific geometric configuration of structural proteins, which have small clusters of weak hydrogen bonds that work cooperatively to resist force and dissipate energy…”

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