Silkworm silk is mainly known as a luxurious textile.
Spider silk is an alternative to silkworm silk fibers and has much more outstanding properties. Silk diversity ensures variation in its application in nature and industry. Artificial spider silk is a new
This review aims to provide a critical summary of up-to-date fabrication methods of artificial spider silk-based organic-inorganic hybrid materials. This paper focuses on the relationship between the molecular structure of spider silk and its mechanical properties. Such knowledge is essential for understanding the innate properties of spider silk as it provides insight into the sophisticated assembly processes of silk proteins into the distinct polymers as a basis for novel products.
In this context, we describe the development of hybrids using both natural and bioengineered proteins blended with inorganic nanoparticles. The following topics are also covered: the diversity of spider silk, its composition and architecture, the differences between it and silkworm silk, and the biosynthesis of natural silk. Referencing biochemical data and processes, this paper outlines the existing challenges and future outcomes.
Within the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of natural fibers to create new hybrid materials (Lau and Cheung, 2017). Recent advances in natural fiber development, composite science, and genetic engineering have presented remarkable opportunities for novel high-performance functional materials (Wang F. et al., 2014). There is a growing interest in high-performance spider silk-based functional materials, while silkworm silk is widely accepted and used.
The range of applications is extremely broad due to its unsurpassed physicochemical properties and a high degree of adaptability. Spider silk provides a good basis for the formation of hybrid functional materials with many uses—an option already being explored. However, it is clear that this field is only at its first stages of development based on the presented approaches for the synthesis of …-based organic-inorganic hybrid materials.
Moreover, large-scale industrial production of these materials is currently challenging due to some unavoidable difficulties related to natural spider silk fabrication. Commercially available artificial fibers are still far from natural as the structure and properties of the natural version.
Furthermore, in comparison with more available silkworm silk, the nanostructure and macro-properties of spider silk vary significantly. The architecture and properties of natural spider silk fibers are still not fully researched. Therefore, further understanding of structure at both the molecular and supra-molecular levels, as well as its formation process is crucial for the development of more successful material modification and manipulation protocols.
Based on these ideas, more accessible and durable advanced fibrous materials with tunable mechanical and biological properties can be generated. New evidence of hierarchical architecture within fiber contributes to a better understanding of the possible integration of inorganic components within silk fibers to produce biopolymer hybrids with considerably improved functional properties.
This could be a fiber that will greatly impact sustainability in the future in many positive ways.