spider silk, crystallinity, thermal, pyroelectric, processing


The processes used to create synthetic spider silk greatly affect the properties of the produced fibers. This paper investigates the effect of process variations during artificial spinning on the thermal and mechanical properties of the produced silk. Property values are also compared to the ones of the natural dragline silk of the N. clavipes spider, and to unprocessed (as-spun) synthetic silk. Structural characterization by scanning pyroelectric microscopy is employed to provide insight into the axial orientation of the crystalline regions of the fiber and is supported by XRD data. The results show that stretching and passage through liquid baths induce crystal formation and axial alignment in synthetic fibers, but with different structural organization than natural silks. Furthermore, an increase in thermal diffusivity and elastic modulus is observed with decreasing fiber diameter, trending towards properties of natural fiber. This effect seems to be related to silk fibers being subjected to a radial gradient during production.

Original Publication Citation

Munro, T., Putzeys, T., Copeland, C., Xing, C., Lewis, R., Ban, H., Glorieux, C., and Wubbenhorst, M., “Investigation of synthetic spider silk crystallinity and alignment via electrothermal, pyroelectric, literature XRD, and tensile techniques,” Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, DOI: 10.1002/mame.201600480, 2017.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor