Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Silk Filters

Silkworm

Silkworm, Bombyx mori

The silk produced by larvae of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, is a long thread composed of shorter interlocking strands of silk protein. Silk thread can be disassociated into its protein units, silk nanofibrils. These nanofibrils can be dissolved in solution and when appropriately filtered, will form a membrane of interlocking silk nanofibrils.

The membranes  are useful for filtration applications They are free standing, do not dissolve in water or solvent and can be cut to a desired shape. The membranes contain nanopores from 4 to 20 nm. The thickness of the membrane can be varied by altering the conditions used to produce the membrane. Increasing the membrane thickness from 40 nm to 120 nm decreases the pore size. The membranes have water permeabilities similar to other filtration materials. Insect biomaterials such as silk are increasingly important in nanoscale materials applications.

Shengjie Ling, Kai Jin, David L. Kaplan, and Markus J. Bueller. Ultrathin Free-Standing Bombyx mori Silk Nanofibril Membranes. Nano Letters 2016 16 (6), 3795-3800
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b01195

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Caterpillar Blogging. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Silk Filters

  1. Pingback: Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Silk Filters – Entomo Planet

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