Methods for Silk Property Analyses across Structural Hierarchies and Scales

Sean J. Blamires, Aditya Rawal, Angela D. Edwards, Jeffrey L. Yarger, Sebastian Oberst, Benjamin J. Allardyce, Rangam Rajkhowa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Silk from silkworms and spiders is an exceptionally important natural material, inspiring a range of new products and applications due to its high strength, elasticity, and toughness at low density, as well as its unique conductive and optical properties. Transgenic and recombinant technologies offer great promise for the scaled-up production of new silkworm- and spider-silk-inspired fibres. However, despite considerable effort, producing an artificial silk that recaptures the physico-chemical properties of naturally spun silk has thus far proven elusive. The mechanical, biochemical, and other properties of pre-and post-development fibres accordingly should be determined across scales and structural hierarchies whenever feasible. We have herein reviewed and made recommendations on some of those practices for measuring the bulk fibre properties; skin-core structures; and the primary, secondary, and tertiary structures of silk proteins and the properties of dopes and their proteins. We thereupon examine emerging methodologies and make assessments on how they might be utilized to realize the goal of developing high quality bio-inspired fibres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2120
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • amorphous structures
  • analyses
  • crystalline structures
  • proteins
  • silk fibres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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