Dewdrops on spider web
Therina Groenewald: Dewdrops on spider web – professional photographer.
Researchers have puzzled out how spider silk is able to catch the morning dew. Their findings may lead to the development of new materials that are able to capture water from the air.
Dry spider silk forms a necklace-like structure. Two main fibres support a series of separate rounded ‘puffs’, each made up of tiny, randomly intertwined nanofibrils. When water vapour condenses onto these puffs, they shrink into densely packed knots, shaped like spindles (or two cones with their bases stuck together). Thinner connecting stretches of nanofibrils, separating the knots, become more apparent; these areas are called ‘joints’.