Creep and low strength of spider dragline subjected to constant loads

Christopher Smith, Joanne Ritchie, Fraser I. Bell, Iain J. McEwen, Christopher Viney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Major ampullate (dragline) silk is attracting significant attention as a potentially useful engineering fiber. This interest is motivated by reports that the silk exhibits high mean strength, stiffness and toughness as measured in tensile tests. However, the typical testing conditions (constant strain rate; experiment completed within less than an hour) imposed during such assessments do not reflect typical demands (e.g. ability to support constant load for long times) made on real high-tensile materials. We demonstrate here that Nephila clavipes major ampullate silk subjected to constant loads performs poorly: its breaking strength is significantly lower than that measured in conventional constant strain rate tests, and even very small constant loads can cause elongation to increase appreciably over long timescales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-424
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Arachnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Creep
  • Dragline
  • Nephila clavipes
  • Silk
  • Strength


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