Biomimetic composites with enhanced toughening using silk-inspired triblock proteins and aligned nanocellulose reinforcements

Pezhman Mohammadi (Corresponding Author), A. Sesilja Aranko, Christopher P. Landowski, Olli Ikkala, Kristaps Jaudzems, Wolfgang Wagermaier, Markus B. Linder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Silk and cellulose are biopolymers that show strong potential as future sustainable materials. They also have complementary properties, suitable for combination in composite materials where cellulose would form the reinforcing component and silk the tough matrix. A major challenge concerns balancing structure and functional properties in the assembly process. We used recombinant proteins with triblock architecture, combining structurally modified spider silk with terminal cellulose affinity modules. Flow alignment of cellulose nanofibrils and triblock protein allowed continuous fiber production. Protein assembly involved phase separation into concentrated coacervates, with subsequent conformational switching from disordered structures into β sheets. This process gave the matrix a tough adhesiveness, forming a new composite material with high strength and stiffness combined with increased toughness. We show that versatile design possibilities in protein engineering enable new fully biological materials and emphasize the key role of controlled assembly at multiple length scales for realization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaaw2541
JournalScience Advances
Volume5
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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silk
biomimetics
reinforcement
cellulose
proteins
composite materials
assembly
spiders
biopolymers
toughness
matrices
high strength
affinity
stiffness
modules
alignment
engineering
fibers

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Mohammadi, Pezhman ; Sesilja Aranko, A. ; Landowski, Christopher P. ; Ikkala, Olli ; Jaudzems, Kristaps ; Wagermaier, Wolfgang ; Linder, Markus B. / Biomimetic composites with enhanced toughening using silk-inspired triblock proteins and aligned nanocellulose reinforcements. In: Science Advances. 2019 ; Vol. 5, No. 9.
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abstract = "Silk and cellulose are biopolymers that show strong potential as future sustainable materials. They also have complementary properties, suitable for combination in composite materials where cellulose would form the reinforcing component and silk the tough matrix. A major challenge concerns balancing structure and functional properties in the assembly process. We used recombinant proteins with triblock architecture, combining structurally modified spider silk with terminal cellulose affinity modules. Flow alignment of cellulose nanofibrils and triblock protein allowed continuous fiber production. Protein assembly involved phase separation into concentrated coacervates, with subsequent conformational switching from disordered structures into β sheets. This process gave the matrix a tough adhesiveness, forming a new composite material with high strength and stiffness combined with increased toughness. We show that versatile design possibilities in protein engineering enable new fully biological materials and emphasize the key role of controlled assembly at multiple length scales for realization.",
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Biomimetic composites with enhanced toughening using silk-inspired triblock proteins and aligned nanocellulose reinforcements. / Mohammadi, Pezhman (Corresponding Author); Sesilja Aranko, A.; Landowski, Christopher P.; Ikkala, Olli; Jaudzems, Kristaps; Wagermaier, Wolfgang; Linder, Markus B.

In: Science Advances, Vol. 5, No. 9, eaaw2541, 13.09.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Mohammadi, Pezhman

AU - Sesilja Aranko, A.

AU - Landowski, Christopher P.

AU - Ikkala, Olli

AU - Jaudzems, Kristaps

AU - Wagermaier, Wolfgang

AU - Linder, Markus B.

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AB - Silk and cellulose are biopolymers that show strong potential as future sustainable materials. They also have complementary properties, suitable for combination in composite materials where cellulose would form the reinforcing component and silk the tough matrix. A major challenge concerns balancing structure and functional properties in the assembly process. We used recombinant proteins with triblock architecture, combining structurally modified spider silk with terminal cellulose affinity modules. Flow alignment of cellulose nanofibrils and triblock protein allowed continuous fiber production. Protein assembly involved phase separation into concentrated coacervates, with subsequent conformational switching from disordered structures into β sheets. This process gave the matrix a tough adhesiveness, forming a new composite material with high strength and stiffness combined with increased toughness. We show that versatile design possibilities in protein engineering enable new fully biological materials and emphasize the key role of controlled assembly at multiple length scales for realization.

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