Why spider webs don't sag (drops reel in loose threads)

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Why spider webs don't sag (drops reel in loose threads)

Post by rjlittlefield »

From http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news ... iders-silk :
'Liquid Wire' Material Inspired by Spiders' Silk
...
Pulling on a sticky thread in a garden spider's orb web and letting it snap back reveals that the thread never sags but always stays taut—even when stretched to many times its original length. This is because any loose thread is immediately spooled inside the tiny droplets of watery glue that coat and surround the core gossamer fibers of the web's capture spiral.

This phenomenon is described in the journal PNAS by scientists from the University of Oxford, UK and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.

The researchers studied the details of this 'liquid wire' technique in spiders' webs and used it to create composite fibers in the laboratory which, just like the spider's capture silk, extend like a solid and compress like a liquid. These novel insights may lead to new bio-inspired technology.
The full paper is available as PDF via http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/05/11/1602451113 .

--Rik

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