Variation in the Elastic Modulus and Increased Energy Dissipation Induced by Cyclic Straining of Argiope bruennichi Major Ampullate Gland Silk

Ping Jiang*, Lihua Wu, Menglei Hu, Sisi Tang, Zhimin Qiu, Taiyong Lv, Manuel Elices, Gustavo V. Guinea and José Pérez-Rigueiro*.

Abstract: The trends exhibited by the parameters that describe the mechanical behaviour of major ampullate gland silk fibers spun by Argiope bruennichi spiders is explored by performing a series of loading-unloading tests at increasing values of strain, and by the subsequent analysis of the true stress-true strain curves obtained from these cycles. The elastic modulus, yields stress, energy absorbed, and energy dissipated in each cycle are computed in order to evaluate the evolution of these mechanical parameters with this cyclic straining. The elastic modulus is observed to increase steadily under these loading conditions, while only a moderate variation is found in the yield stress. It is also observed that a significant proportion of the energy initially absorbed in each cycle is not only dissipated, but that the material may recover partially from the associated irreversible deformation. This variation in the mechanical performance of spider silk is accounted for through a combination of irreversible and reversible deformation micromechanisms in which the viscoelasticity of the material plays a leading role.

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