Development of new smart materials and spinning systems inspired by natural silks and their applications

Jie Cheng, Sang Hoon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Silks produced by spiders and silkworms are charming natural biological materials with highly optimized hierarchical structures and outstanding physicomechanical properties. The superior performance of silks relies on the integration of a unique protein sequence, a distinctive spinning process, and complex hierarchical structures. Silks have been prepared to form a variety of morphologies and are widely used in diverse applications, for example, in the textile industry, as drug delivery vehicles, and as tissue engineering scaffolds. This review presents an overview of the organization of natural silks, in which chemical and physical functions are optimized, as well as a range of new materials inspired by the desire to mimic natural silk structure and synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalFrontiers in Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 12

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2015R1A2A1A09004998), Republic of Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Cheng and Lee.


  • Biomimetic
  • Hierarchical structure
  • Protein primary sequence
  • Self-assembly
  • Silk
  • Silk-inspired functional materials
  • Spinning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)


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