Scientists have created a synthetic web structure
Since ancient times, the web is known for its amazing structure and special composition, whose strength is higher than that of steel.
Thanks to the research of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it was possible to learn some of the features of the web, which will further help create synthetic material that can replace natural silk in its properties. Applying computational modeling and technical analysis, scientists have developed a systematic approach that, in a 3D model, gives an idea of how spiders weave their webs.
“This technique is the first of its kind,” says Professor Markus Bueller, head of the department of the Massachusetts Institute for Civil Environmental Engineering and lead author of an article that appeared in Nature Communication today. “So we're going to expand our knowledge of the functions of the web.”
The combination of large-scale modeling and technology of 3D printing of trace elements made it possible to study and create a synthetic web structure.The knowledge gained through research will help you understand how to use the strength of the spiderweb for various purposes and will allow scientists to create new structures and compounds that are resistant to external damage.
This article was written by Büller with CEE researcher Zhao Qing, Harvard University professor Jennifer Lewis, and former Harvard postdoc Brett Compton.
Below are the knowledge gained.
Studies have shown a significant relationship between the composition of the web and gravity, that is, the spider itself is able to release a web of such strength to keep its intended prey.
The team doing the experimental experiments used metal structures in 3D printing of an artificial web and directly combined their data into one model.
“In the end, we combined physical and computational research,” says Buhler.
Marcus also explained that spiders use a certain amount of web, depending on the size of the prey, to capture it. He and his colleagues hope to use this knowledge in practice to create a less dense material that is resistant to destruction.
“The models printed on the 3D printer opened the door for us to study the structure of power and the level of material strength - an achievement that could not be achieved by studying only a natural web,” says Lewis.
“The web is a unique and interesting material,” she says, “But, until now, it has not been studied until the end.” Lewis’s task was to explore the geometrically aspects of the web with a material with similar properties, such as silk.
The Buhler team uses orb-web spiders as an example for their 3D projects. In each sample obtained, they study the diameter of the weave, thereby comparing the thickness of uniform and inhomogeneous threads.
In the course of the work, it became clear that the web, consisting of weaving with the same diameter, is quite strong under the influence of, say, the force of a fly that fell into it. A weave with a different diameter can withstand a more powerful force, such as wind or rain.
The combination of computer modeling and 3D printing will allow you to be more productive in designing.
Lewis says that now their team is planning to begin studying the effects of controlled vibration on the dynamic aspects of the web.This can change the current understanding of the material and will optimize the multifunctional printing structure.