Structural optimization of 3D-printed synthetic spider webs for high strength

Zhao Qin, Brett G. Compton, Jennifer A. Lewis, Markus J. Buehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spiders spin intricate webs that serve as sophisticated prey-trapping architectures that simultaneously exhibit high strength, elasticity and graceful failure. To determine how web mechanics are controlled by their topological design and material distribution, here we create spider-web mimics composed of elastomeric filaments. Specifically, computational modelling and microscale 3D printing are combined to investigate the mechanical response of elastomeric webs under multiple loading conditions. We find the existence of an asymptotic prey size that leads to a saturated web strength. We identify pathways to design elastomeric material structures with maximum strength, low density and adaptability. We show that the loading type dictates the optimal material distribution, that is, a homogeneous distribution is better for localized loading, while stronger radial threads with weaker spiral threads is better for distributed loading. Our observations reveal that the material distribution within spider webs is dictated by the loading condition, shedding light on their observed architectural variations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7038
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Structural optimization of 3D-printed synthetic spider webs for high strength'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this