Concentration state dependence of the rheological and structural properties of reconstituted silk.
Mo C., Holland C., Porter D., Shao Z., Vollrath F.
The ability to control the processing of artificial silk is key to the successful application of this important and high performance biopolymer. Understanding where our current reconstitution process can be improved will not only aid us in the creation of better materials, but will also provide insight into the natural material along the way. This study aims to understand what proportion of reconstituted silk contributes to its rheological properties and what conformational state the silk proteins are in. It shows, for the first time, that a change in rheological properties can be related to a change in silk structures present in solution and reveals a low concentration gel state for silk that may have important implications for future successful artificial processing of silk.