First a grad student builds a suit that gives its wearer Spidey sense. And now a trio of physics students have used SCIENCE to confirm that the scene in Spider-Man 2 where Spidey uses webbing to stop a subway could actually happen. If someone chances across sentient black goo next, I’m out.
The University of Leicester students determined that spider silk would have to absorb some 500 million joules of energy so as not to snap against the 300,000 Newtons of force provided by a four-car train. So, assuming we’re looking at a strand of webbing that, like Spider-Man’s, is sized up to human proportions… would it work?
As long as it’s anchored properly, yep. No problem. And what’s more, only one strand of webbing would be required, not the multiple strands that Spidey used. That single strand, however, would have to come from Darwin’s bark spider, which produces webbing more than 10 times stronger than Kevlar.
Said Alex Stone, one of the students who authored the study (titled “Doing whatever a spider can”—yay geeks!):
“It is often quoted that spider webs are stronger than steel, so we thought it would be interesting to see whether this held true for Spider-Man’s scaled up version. We were surprised to find out that the webbing was portrayed accurately.”
My god. Could everything comic book movies show us be true?!