How does spider silk collect water?
Many water-storing substances exist in nature, such as the leaves of certain plants and the backs of beetles. Incredibly, spider silk also has structures perfectly adapted to collect water.
In 2010, a team of Chinese researchers published a paper in the journal Nature We reveal important details of this structure. Scientists have shown that when spider silk gets wet, it begins to form rough-textured ridges along the smooth fibers of the silk. pushes toward the bumps, increasing the silk’s ability to collect water.
This is why you see water sticking to spider webs as distinct droplets. The nubs, or what scientists called “spindle knots,” serve as collection sites.
The current challenge is to create inexpensive, bio-inspired materials that mimic the structure of natural spider silk to harvest moisture from fog in arid regions. The material, designed by her professor Yongmei Zheng and her team at Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is made by dipping her coating of smooth man-made fibers into a polymer fluid. The polymer fluid decomposes and dries, forming ridges that are very important to the structure.
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