Materials

Printed spider webs get tough

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
521,
Page:
397
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/521397e
Published online

Using a 3D printer, researchers have created spider-web analogues out of elastic polymer threads and tweaked their architectures to maximize the webs' strength.

Zhao Qin/CC BY 4.0

Markus Buehler at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and his colleagues printed synthetic webs (pictured) and added various sizes of load to test the webs' strength. The authors found that they could strengthen the web by adjusting the diameter of the threads radiating out from the middle, and that of the threads that spiral around the web. They did so while keeping the mass and general geometry of the web constant.

Strong synthetic webs could be used in applications such as reinforcing industrial materials, the authors say.

Nature Commun. 6, 7038 (2015)

Additional data