Issue 43, 2018

Extensional flow behaviour and spinnability of native silk


Silk fibres are assembled via flow. While changes in the physiological environment of the gland as well as the shear rheology of silk are largely understood, the effect of extensional flow fields on native silk proteins is almost completely unknown. Here we demonstrate that filament stretching on a conventional tensile tester is a suitable technique to assess silk's extensional flow properties and its ability to form fibres under extensional conditions characteristic of natural spinning. We report that native Bombyx mori silk responds differently to extensional flow fields when compared to synthetic linear polymers, as evidenced by a higher Trouton ratio which we attribute to silk's increased interchain interactions. Finally, we show that native silk proteins can only be spun into stable fibres at low extension rates as a result of dehydration, suggesting that extensional fields alone are unable to induce natural fibre formation.

Graphical abstract: Extensional flow behaviour and spinnability of native silk

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
12 Jun 2018
10 Oct 2018
First published
23 Oct 2018
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Soft Matter, 2018,14, 8838-8845

Extensional flow behaviour and spinnability of native silk

A. Koeppel, P. R. Laity and C. Holland, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 8838 DOI: 10.1039/C8SM01199K

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity