Periodic graphics: The chemistry of spiderwebs | October 16, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 41 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 41 | p. 24
Issue Date: October 16, 2017 | Web Date: October 10, 2017

Periodic graphics: The chemistry of spiderwebs

Chemical educator and Compound Interest blogger Andy Brunning explains the chemistry that makes spider silk strong and elastic.
By Andy Brunning
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: Periodic graphics, spider silk, materials, bioengineering, Kevlar

To download a pdf of this article, visit

References used to create this graphic:

Spider silk is a wonder of nature but it’s not stronger than steel

Spider silk

The elaborate structure of spider silk

Bioinspired supramolecular fibers drawn from a multiphase self-assembled hydrogel

Synthetic biology and the rise of the ‘spider-goats’

The structure and properties of spider silk

A collaboration between C&EN and Andy Brunning, author of the popular graphics blog Compound Interest

To see more of Brunning’s work, go to To see all of C&EN’s Periodic Graphics, visit

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nobuyuki ishibe (October 11, 2017 8:22 PM)
It looks like an interesting article, but I cannot access it.
Ivan (February 26, 2018 11:33 PM)
It's interesting that the spider webs toughness is 180 for dragline silk and 150 for the flag silk but only 50 for the Kevlar. I would have thought the Kevlar be superior in all the categories and it would be a bigger difference in strength like at least 10x stronger.

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