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The molecular deformation of both silkworm (Bombyx mori) and spider dragline (Nephila edulis) silks has been studied using a combination of mechanical deformation and Raman spectroscopy. The stress/strain curves for both kinds of silk showed elastic behavior followed by plastic deformation. It was found that both materials have well-defined Raman spectra and that some of the bands in the spectra shift to lower frequency under the action of tensile stress or strain. The band shift was linearly dependent upon stress for both types of silk fiber. This observation provides a unique insight into the effect of tensile deformation upon molecular structure and the relationship between structure and mechanical properties. Two similar bands in the Raman spectra of both types of silk in the region of 1000-1300 cm-1 had significant identical rates of Raman band shift of about 7 cm-1/GPa and 14 cm-1/GPa demonstrating the similarity between the silk fibers from two different animals.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





387 - 394