Paper Title:

Silk Cocoon: "Emperor's New Clothes" for Pupa: Fractal Nano-Hydrodynamical Approach

Periodical Journal of Nano Research (Volume 22)
Main Theme Journal of Nano Research Vol. 22
Pages 65-70
DOI 10.4028/www.scientific.net/JNanoR.22.65
Citation Ruo Xi Chen et al., 2013, Journal of Nano Research, 22, 65
Online since May 2013
Authors Ruo Xi Chen, Fu Juan Liu, Ji Huan He, Jie Fan
Keywords Biomaterial, Bombyx mori, Carbon Nanotube (CN), Cocoon, Diffusion, Fractal Geometry, Fractal Hydrodynamics
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Blossman-Myer and Burggren (Comp. Biochem. Phys. A, 155, 2010,259-263) found that the cocoon of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, while creating a tough barrier offering mechanical protection to the pupa, imposes no barrier to the diffusion of oxygen or water vapor. In view of its mechanical properties, silk cocoon is an "emperor's new clothes" for pupa. A theoretical analysis is given to explain the fascinating phenomenon by a fractal hydrodynamic model for discontinuous membrane composed of hierarchical silk cascade. The model reveals that when the fractal dimensions of the microstructure of the cocoon meet a special condition, air and water vapor can flow through the cocoon as if there were no cocoon. However, at extremes of weather, the cocoon is an excellent thermal protection for both high and cool temperatures. A better understanding of the cocoon mechanism could help the further design of bio-mimetic artificial clothes for special applications.