For any of you who have seen any Spider Man movie *cough* Spider-Man: Homecoming *cough* which recently came out, you’ll notice that Spider-Man makes his own webbing! Let’s look into what a spider’s web is actually made of, and is it possible to recreate our web slinging friends antics?
When people think about the structure of a web they often think about the rumor that states that they’re stronger than steel… Well, not only is that true, but a spider’s web is actually stronger than steel! This is because of something called tensile strength, which refers to the tension of which the material can withstand, and why a web is more elastic than steel. Without that elasticity, people would be hurting themselves left and right as they try to clear webs. The spider’s web is made of spider silk, which is an extremely elastic material constructed of lots of protein fibers. That being said, spider silk can bare more weight than steel, however it is much less dense. A spider creates its silk within a very specialized organ, called the spinneret. Another benefit of this silk, is that it contains glue like properties which aid in catching its prey. When an insect comes in contact with the web, they are likely stuck until their demise. Spider silk is also conductive to electricity, and the spider actually uses this to its advantage. They use this conductivity to build up a static charge, and like a sock sticks to a towel if there is too much static in the dryer, an insect with any static charge clinging to it will stick to the web as well, and they are unable to escape. At first glance, a spider web may seem like an intricate design for spiders to lounge on, but the underlying properties are absolutely fascinating.