5 years ago

Biomimetic Hybridization of Kevlar into Silk Fibroin: Nanofibrous Strategy for Improved Mechanic Properties of Flexible Composites and Filtration Membranes

Biomimetic Hybridization of Kevlar into Silk Fibroin: Nanofibrous Strategy for Improved Mechanic Properties of Flexible Composites and Filtration Membranes
Mingjie Li, Lu Zong, Xiaochen Wu, Chaoxu Li, Jun You, Xiangsheng Han, Lili Lv
Silk, one of the strongest natural biopolymers, was hybridized with Kevlar, one of the strongest synthetic polymers, through a biomimetic nanofibrous strategy. Regenerated silk materials have outstanding properties in transparency, biocompatibility, biodegradability and sustainability, and promising applications as diverse as in pharmaceutics, electronics, photonic devices and membranes. To compete with super mechanic properties of their natural counterpart, regenerated silk materials have been hybridized with inorganic fillers such as graphene and carbon nanotubes, but frequently lose essential mechanic flexibility. Inspired by the nanofibrous strategy of natural biomaterials (e.g., silk fibers, hemp and byssal threads of mussels) for fantastic mechanic properties, Kevlar was integrated in regenerated silk materials by combining nanometric fibrillation with proper hydrothermal treatments. The resultant hybrid films showed an ultimate stress and Young’s modulus two times as high as those of pure regenerated SF films. This is not only because of the reinforcing effect of Kevlar nanofibrils, but also because of the increasing content of silk β-sheets. When introducing Kevlar nanofibrils into the membranes of silk nanofibrils assembled by regenerated silk fibroin, the improved mechanic properties further enabled potential applications as pressure-driven nanofiltration membranes and flexible substrates of electronic devices.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.7b03119

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b03119

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