The effect of UV-light on the uniaxial tensile properties and the structure of uncoated and TiO2 coated silk fibers in the bave form by using sol-gel method was investigated with tensile testing and FT-IR/ATR spectroscopy methods after the silk filaments were exposed to UV-light with high intensity of 760 W/m(2) for different times from 0.5 h to 1 day. It was clearly observed that TiO2 coating considerably increased the Young's modulus of the uncoated silk single filament by around 17% before the UV-irradiation. The yield point and the post yield region disappeared on the stress-strain curves of both uncoated and TiO2 coated silk filaments after UV-irradiation time higher than 1 h. Except for the Young's modulus, most of the tensile characteristics of both uncoated and TiO2 coated silk filaments decreased remarkably with increasing UV-irradiation time, e.g., after 1 h irradiation, although the Young's modulus slightly changed and ultimate tensile strength decreased by only around 18% and 23%, for the uncoated and TiO2 coated silk filaments, respectively; breaking extension decreased dramatically by 67% and 72%, respectively, for uncoated and TiO2 coated silk filaments. Only the Young's modulus of TiO2 coated silk filaments which can be considered as a more stable tensile characteristic became significantly higher than that of the uncoated silk filaments with increasing UV-irradiation time. After 1 day irradiation, even though the uncoated silk filaments could not be tested and completely lost of their fiber properties, the TiO2 coated silk filaments showed a stress-strain curve in initial elastic region with Young's modulus of similar to 13 GPa which indicates considerable protective effect of TiO2 on the silk fiber structure, especially on the beta-sheet microcrystals against UV-radiation. The FT-IR/ATR spectral results showed that significant photodegradation took place in not only crystalline but also amorphous regions which were deduced from the decrease in the absorbance ratios of the bands assigned to CH3 rocking, C-alpha-C-beta, C-alpha-C stretching vibrations in beta-sheet crystalline regions as well as the Amide I, II, and III bands for both crystalline and amorphous regions. Even though the ratio of crystalline to amorphous regions in uncoated silk filaments decreased significantly, the ratio in TiO2 coated silk filaments became almost constant with increasing UV-irradiation time which may indicate more stable beta-sheet microcrystals against photodegradation. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.