Guest post by Mark Spalding

Of all the debates I have had over the years, the most heated and impassioned ones haven’t involved the big three of religion politics or sports. No, the most heated arguments don’t come from talking about money with your wife. They actually come from arguing about fictional characters.

And that is where our story begins. The long and the short of it is that my stepson and I got into a “discussion” about whether or not Spiderman’s webbing could actually hold a ten ton truck in midair (in midair because it had just been picked up and thrown at him by the Juggernaut) between two downtown Manhattan highrises. Seems a bit implausible, no? Time for a learning moment!!

So, first things first. A caveat for all the geek parents who may know a bit more about Spiderman than the average joe. I will base these findings off the more modern version of Spiderman who has organic webshooters, rather than the original version which employed manufactured web fluid via mechanical wrist shooters. While the webbing is similar in function, the science of the webbing works better with a direct comparison to natural spider silk.

A photograph of the web of Darwins bark spider (Caerostris darwini).

OK. Ten ton truck. Midair. No wings, rocket boosters or magnetic fields involved. Just some quickly spun strands of natural fiber which are five times the tensile strength of steel, have more stopping power than kevlar, yet are smaller in diameter per strand by seventy to eighty percent that of nylon or polyester. Well, the normal spider variety that is.

Spiderman has the proportional strength of a spider (they can lift about eight times their weight). So Spidey’s a pretty strong dude (in the comics he can lift around ten tons, but an actual comparison would be closer to one ton). If his webbing is equally similar to that of a spider’s than it’s safe to assume that due to it’s larger diameter per strand, it takes on more robust qualities in strength and flexibility. In this case, it would be safe to assume that his webbing is at least 50 times the tensile strength of steel, can easily stop bullets at close range (when spun into a circular mesh pattern like that of a shield) and is sticky enough to entangle most any object that comes into contact with it.

While most comic book powers are major exaggerations of normal abilities, the guys at Marvel may have actually undersold the awesome properties of spidey’s webbing. It may actually be more powerful than it has been shown to be!

Here is a list of the sites I googled while looking up this info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Man%27s_powers_and_equipment

web.mit.edu/course/3/3.064/www/slides/Ko_spider_silk.pdf

http://www.science20.com/news_articles/revealed_source_spider_silks_extreme_strength-81795

Debating the True Strength of Spiderman’s Web
Tagged on:                                         

11 thoughts on “Debating the True Strength of Spiderman’s Web

  • September 20, 2014 at 4:07 pm
    Permalink

    What’s up everyone, it’s my first go to see at this website, and piece of writing is really fruitful for me, keep up posting these types of posts.

    my web page: webpage (Darnell)

  • September 14, 2014 at 6:17 pm
    Permalink

    I just like the valuable info you provide to your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check once more right here frequently.

    I am slightly certain I will be informed lots of new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

  • September 12, 2014 at 12:42 am
    Permalink

    Very shortly this web page will be famous among all blogging users, due to it’s pleasant content

  • September 10, 2014 at 12:18 pm
    Permalink

    Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll
    be book-marking and checking back often!

  • September 9, 2014 at 11:16 am
    Permalink

    I do agree with all the concepts you have presented in your post.
    They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are too quick
    for newbies. Could you please prolong them a bit from next time?
    Thank you for the post.

  • September 2, 2014 at 9:10 pm
    Permalink

    Great info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have saved as a favorite for later!

    • September 5, 2014 at 2:38 am
      Permalink

      Thanks for stopping by, hope you will continue to visit us and share your thoughts.

  • July 14, 2014 at 8:34 pm
    Permalink

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the
    rest of the site is really good.

  • March 9, 2013 at 11:31 pm
    Permalink

    Cool article!!!

  • March 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm
    Permalink

    Holy physics, Batman! Now this is the stuff of science fair projects!

Comments are closed.