Researchers have better unraveled the complex process of how black widow spiders transform proteins into steel-strength fibers. This knowledge promises to aid scientists in creating equally strong synthetic materials. Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, the research team was able to more closely see inside the protein gland where the silk fibers originate, revealing a more complex, hierarchical protein assembly. The researchers' 'modified micelles theory' concludes that spider silk proteins start out as complex, compound micelles.