Spider Silk Supercontraction-Inspired Cotton-Hydrogel Self-Adapting Textiles

Abdul Qadeer Khan, Kaiqing Yu, Jiatian Li, Xueqi Leng, Meilin Wang, Xuesong Zhang, Baigang An, Bin Fei, Wei Wei, Huichuan Zhuang, Muhammad Shafiq, Lili Bao, Zunfeng Liu, Xiang Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Smart textiles are able to self-adapt to an irregular surface. So, they found new applications in intelligent clothes and equipments, where the properties and functionality of traditional polymeric fibers are insufficient, and hard to be realized. Inspired by the supercontraction behavior of the spider silk, we prepared a spinnable hydrogel to form a sheath-core-like composite yarn, after being coated on cotton yarn. The strong hydrogen bonding between the cotton yarn and the polar groups of the hydrogel provides an outstanding mechanical stability, and the twists insertion forms a spiral-like architecture, which exhibited moisture-responsive super contraction behavior. By structural tailoring the chirality of the fiber twists and coiling extends into homo-chiral and heterochiral architectures, as displays contraction and expansion when is exposed to the moisture. Once the relative humidity is increased from 60 to 90%, a homochiral yarn exhibits 90% contraction, while a heterochiral yarn shows 450% expansion, and the maximum work capacity reached up to 6.1 J/Kg. The super contracted yarn can be re-stretched to its original length manifesting cyclability, which can be exploited to build a smart textile, self-adaptive to irregular surfaces. Such a strategy may be further extended to a wide variety of materials to achieve intelligent textiles from common fiber or yarns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1572-1583
Number of pages12
JournalAdvanced Fiber Materials
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Actuator
  • Biomimetic
  • Moisture sensitive
  • Supercontraction
  • Yarns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)


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