The mechanical properties of spider silk have attracted the interest of many researchers. However, due to the focus on the material “silk”, it has long been overlooked that spiders also process single silk fibres into complex threads. Cribellate spiders have brought this processing to an extreme: they produces capture threads by combining three different silks and up to 40,000 single fibres to one single thread. The main component of these threads are nanofibres with a diameter of about 20 nm. To produce such capture threads, the cribellate spider thus has to process, handle and intertwine silken nanofibres. Such an ability is not only unique in nature, but also has no counterpart in technical production of nanofibres. Hence, we are aiming to biomimetically transfer the principles and make use of the nanofiber processing as well as of the silken material itself.
To cover all the different aspects of our research interests, we work with many cooperation partners across the world.
Currently funded research projects: