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Carbon nanotubes facilitate silk hierarchical assembly by dry drawing

DOI: 10.1002/sstr.202300435 DOI Help

Authors: Quan Wan (Zhejiang University) , Nicholas T. H. Farr (University of Sheffield) , Peng Li (Diamond Light Source) , Darren Batey (Diamond Light Source) , Christoph Rau (Diamond Light Source) , John Rodenburg (University of Sheffield) , Leihao Lu (Zhejiang University) , Peter R. Laity (University of Sheffield) , Zongpu Xu (Zhejiang University) , Chris Holland (University of Sheffield) , Cornelia Rodenburg (University of Sheffield) , Mingying Yang (Zhejiang University)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Small Structures , VOL 5

State: Published (Approved)
Published: January 2024
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 28729

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Biologically derived hierarchical structural materials not only boast energy-efficient processing but also exhibit impressive mechanical performance. Silk stands as the gold standard in hierarchical fiber production, leveraging a unique combination of advantages. Nevertheless, the artificial replication of silk poses technical challenges related to precision processing and comprehensive molecular control. To address such issues, this study investigates the hierarchical assembly of solid regenerated silk in an air atmosphere, facilitated by the incorporation of carbon nanotube (CNT) seeding. Results obtained highlight that this CNT seeding facilitates multiscale structure development in response to post-spin tensile stress. Such CNT bridged structure assembly bypasses some natural processing control variables (pH, ions) and the necessary solvent immersed state for conventional silk post-drawing. Combining secondary electron hyperspectral imaging and 3D synchrotron X-ray ptychotomography, this study reports silk protein conversion from a disordered as-spun state to a longitudinal orientated semi-crystalline nano structure during drawing. The development of microscale structure during the drawing process is attributed to the presence of CNTs, yielding mechanical properties comparable to, and frequently surpassing, those exhibited by native fibers. These findings collectively propose a framework for exploring novel processing routes and offer a practical means controlling self-assembly in silk materials.

Subject Areas: Materials, Engineering

Instruments: I13-1-Coherence

Added On: 24/01/2024 09:57

Small Structures - 2024 - Wan - Carbon Nanotubes Facilitate Silk Hierarchical Assembly by Dry Drawing.pdf

Discipline Tags:

Biotechnology Materials Science Engineering & Technology Nanoscience/Nanotechnology

Technical Tags:

Imaging Coherent Diffraction Imaging (CDI) Ptychography