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Spider Silk-Inspired Biomedical Thread

Posted on 3/23/2012 3:45:35 PM By ASC
  

Researchers at University of Akron are working with spider webs to develop sutures with embeddable drugs for wound healing. Writing in a recent issue of Langmuir, the researchers described how they used the adhesive web-building strategy of orb-weaving spiders to produce functional microthreads with similar structure (beads-on-a-string [BOAS] morphology) and adhesive properties. The size and spacing of droplets (beads) are controlled by altering the viscosity, velocity, and surface tension of the coating fluid. The researchers' results show that the BOAS structure performs better than a cylindrical structure for adhesion. This could explain why this is a prevalent morphology among spider webs, even when it increases the web's visibility. This could have medical applications in cases that require biomaterial adhesives, such as wound healing. This may lead to the development of adhesives with embedded medications that can slowly be released. Rather than place individual glue drops on a string, a new technique coats threads uniformly with glue. The glue forms waves that morph into beads to create greater-than-average contact areas. The beads may create a structure in which medication can be placed and released.

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