Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Bioinspired process makes materials light, robust, programmable at nano- to macro-scale: Ultralight web of silk nano fibers withstands load 4,000 times its weight

A new bioinspired process developed at Tufts University combines top-down and bottom-up assembly to turn silk protein into materials that are easily programmable at the nano-, micro- and macro-scales; ultralight; and robust. This web of silk nano fibers was able to sustain a load 4,000 times its own weight.
CREDIT
Silk Lab / Tufts University
A new bioinspired process developed at Tufts University combines top-down and bottom-up assembly to turn silk protein into materials that are easily programmable at the nano-, micro- and macro-scales; ultralight; and robust. This web of silk nano fibers was able to sustain a load 4,000 times its own weight. CREDIT Silk Lab / Tufts University

Abstract:
Researchers at Tufts University's School of Engineering have developed a new bioinspired technique that transforms silk protein into complex materials that are easily programmable at the nano-, micro- and macro-scales as well as ultralight and robust. Among the varied structures generated was a web of silk nano fibers able to withstand a load 4,000 times its own weight. The research is published online in Nature Nanotechnology on February 27.

Bioinspired process makes materials light, robust, programmable at nano- to macro-scale: Ultralight web of silk nano fibers withstands load 4,000 times its weight

Medford/Somerville, MA | Posted on February 28th, 2017

Structural proteins are nature's building blocks, forming materials that provide stiffness, structure and function in biological systems. A major obstacle to fabricating comparable synthetic materials is natural materials' hierarchical structure which confers unique properties from the molecular to the macro level. When scientists try to emulate this structure, they often find that control at one scale hinders control at other scales.

The Tufts researchers combined bottom-up self-assembly characteristic of natural materials with directed, top-down assembly to simultaneously control geometry at all scales, micro-mechanical constraints and solvent-removal dynamics--all of which determine biomaterial properties.

"We generated controllable, multi-scale materials that could be readily engineered with dopant agents. While silk is our main focus, we believe this approach is applicable to other biomaterials and composites and synthetic hydrogels," said corresponding author Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., Frank C. Doble Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Omenetto also has an appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and in the Department of Physics within the School of Arts and Sciences.

With the new technique, centimeter-scale silicone molds were patterned with micro-scale features no thicker than a human hair. An aqueous fibroin protein gel derived from silkworm cocoons was injected into the molds and then mechanically stressed by contraction of the gel in the presence of water and ethanol and/or physical deformation of the entire mold. As the system dried, the silk protein's structure naturally transformed to a more robust beta-sheet crystal. The material's final shape and mechanical properties were precisely engineered by controlling the micro-scale mold pattern, gel contraction, mold deformation and silk dehydration.

"The final result of our process is a stable architecture of aligned nano fibers, similar to natural silk but offering us the opportunity to engineer functionality into the material," said first author Peter Tseng, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar in Omenetto's Silk Lab at Tufts' School of Engineering.

In some of the experiments the Tufts researchers doped the silk gel with gold nanoparticles which were able to transport heat when exposed to light.

Tseng noted that webs spun by spiders are structurally dense rather than porous. "In contrast, our web structure is aerated, porous and ultra-light while also robust to human touch, which may enable every-day applications in the future," he said. A 2 to 3 cm diameter web weighing approximately 2.5 mg was able to support an 11 gram weight.

###

Other paper authors were Bradley Napier, Tufts doctoral student in the Silk Lab; Siwei Zhao, Ph.D., post-doctoral associate in the Silk Lab; Alexander N. Mitropoulos, Ph.D., former Tufts doctoral student in biomedical engineering, now at the United States Military Academy at West Point; Matthew B. Applegate, Ph.D., former Tufts doctoral student in biomedical engineering, now at Boston University; Benedetto Marelli, Ph.D., former post-doctoral associate in the Silk Lab, now at MIT; and David L. Kaplan, Ph.D., Stern Family Professor of Engineering. Kaplan holds additional Tufts faculty appointments in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, the Department of Chemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine and the School of Dental Medicine.

Support for this research came in part from the Office of Naval Research under award N000141310596. Peter Tseng received support from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health under the Kirschstein National Research Service Awards fellowship number F32EB021159-02. The authors also acknowledge support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Directed assembly of bio-inspired hierarchical materials with controlled nanofibrillar architectures. Peter Tseng, Bradley Napier, Siwei Zhao, Alexander N. Mitropoulos, Matthew B. Applegate, Benedetto Marelli, David L. Kaplan, Fiorenzo G. Omenetto. Nature Nanotechnology. Published online February 27, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2017.4

Content of this news announcement is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the research funders.

####

About Tufts University
Located on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus, the School of Engineering offers a rigorous engineering education in a unique environment that blends the intellectual and technological resources of a world-class research university with the strengths of a top-ranked liberal arts college. Close partnerships with Tufts' excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, coupled with a long tradition of collaboration, provide a strong platform for interdisciplinary education and scholarship. The School of Engineering's mission is to educate engineers committed to the innovative and ethical application of science and technology in addressing the most pressing societal needs, to develop and nurture twenty-first century leadership qualities in its students, faculty, and alumni, and to create and disseminate transformational new knowledge and technologies that further the well-being and sustainability of society in such cross-cutting areas as human health, environmental sustainability, alternative energy, and the human-technology interface.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Kim Thurler

617-504-7675

Copyright © Tufts University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLE:

Related News Press

News and information

Moving diagnostics out of the lab and into your hand: Electrochemical sensor platform technology could enable portable, multiplexed, point-of-care diagnostics for a wide range of applications November 11th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2019 Year End Results November 11th, 2019

Scientists probe the limits of ice: Transition between ice and liquid water gets fuzzy at the nanoscale November 9th, 2019

Arrowhead and Collaborator Janssen Present Phase 2 Clinical Data for Investigational Hepatitis B Regimens at The Liver Meeting® 2019 November 8th, 2019

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Moving diagnostics out of the lab and into your hand: Electrochemical sensor platform technology could enable portable, multiplexed, point-of-care diagnostics for a wide range of applications November 11th, 2019

Scientists probe the limits of ice: Transition between ice and liquid water gets fuzzy at the nanoscale November 9th, 2019

Argonne collaborates to review current battery recycling processes for electric vehicles November 8th, 2019

Go with the flow: Scientists design new grid batteries for renewable energy: New blueprint for affordable, sustainable 'flow batteries' developed at Berkeley Lab could accelerate an electrical grid powered by the sun and wind November 8th, 2019

Possible Futures

Moving diagnostics out of the lab and into your hand: Electrochemical sensor platform technology could enable portable, multiplexed, point-of-care diagnostics for a wide range of applications November 11th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2019 Year End Results November 11th, 2019

Scientists probe the limits of ice: Transition between ice and liquid water gets fuzzy at the nanoscale November 9th, 2019

Self-assembled microspheres of silica to cool surfaces without energy consumption November 8th, 2019

Discoveries

Moving diagnostics out of the lab and into your hand: Electrochemical sensor platform technology could enable portable, multiplexed, point-of-care diagnostics for a wide range of applications November 11th, 2019

Scientists probe the limits of ice: Transition between ice and liquid water gets fuzzy at the nanoscale November 9th, 2019

Thorium superconductivity: Scientists discover a new high-temperature superconductor November 8th, 2019

Self-assembled microspheres of silica to cool surfaces without energy consumption November 8th, 2019

Materials/Metamaterials

Scientists probe the limits of ice: Transition between ice and liquid water gets fuzzy at the nanoscale November 9th, 2019

Disordered proteins become stable, 'super-sticky' materials: Improved protein control could lead to wound-healing gels and other applications November 3rd, 2019

Physicists found weak spots in ceramic/graphene composites: Physicists found out the structures in nanomaterials made of ceramic and graphene plates, in which cracks appear most frequently September 27th, 2019

Turning heat into electricity: A new thermoelectric material developed at FEFU: Young scientists from FEFU manufactured new thermoelectric material based on strontium titanate and titanium oxide September 27th, 2019

Announcements

Moving diagnostics out of the lab and into your hand: Electrochemical sensor platform technology could enable portable, multiplexed, point-of-care diagnostics for a wide range of applications November 11th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2019 Year End Results November 11th, 2019

Scientists probe the limits of ice: Transition between ice and liquid water gets fuzzy at the nanoscale November 9th, 2019

A distinct spin on atomic transport: Work that demonstrates simultaneous control over transport and spin properties of cold atoms establishes a framework for exploring concepts of spintronics and solid-state physics November 8th, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

Moving diagnostics out of the lab and into your hand: Electrochemical sensor platform technology could enable portable, multiplexed, point-of-care diagnostics for a wide range of applications November 11th, 2019

Scientists probe the limits of ice: Transition between ice and liquid water gets fuzzy at the nanoscale November 9th, 2019

Self-assembled microspheres of silica to cool surfaces without energy consumption November 8th, 2019

Arrowhead and Collaborator Janssen Present Phase 2 Clinical Data for Investigational Hepatitis B Regimens at The Liver Meeting® 2019 November 8th, 2019

Military

Moving diagnostics out of the lab and into your hand: Electrochemical sensor platform technology could enable portable, multiplexed, point-of-care diagnostics for a wide range of applications November 11th, 2019

Visible light and nanoparticle catalysts produce desirable bioactive molecules: Simple photochemical method takes advantage of quantum mechanics October 31st, 2019

Small magnets reveal big secrets: Work by international research team could have wide-ranging impact on information technology applications October 28th, 2019

Bio-inspired nano-catalyst guides chiral reactions October 25th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project