Silk for sustainable composites

Darshil U. Shah1 and Fritz Vollrath2,    1University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom,    2University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom


Growing interest in bio-based materials has powered the recent industrial uptake of plant fiber-reinforced plastics. In contrast, nature’s wonder-fiber silk has had no commercial applications and only limited scientific investigations as a composite reinforcement for nonbiomedical applications. In addressing the question “are silks suitable as polymer reinforcements?” we explored two routes to silk composites: (1) syntactic foams, where silk cocoons were employed as natural, macroballoon, particulate reinforcements in a bio-based polymer foam; and (2) laminate ...

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