Spidey’s Web Could Stop A Runaway Train

During a scene in 2004′s Spider-Man 2, Spidey uses weird faces, grunts, and his super-strong webbing to stop a runaway train from plunging off the track. Three students from the UK, who thankfully put their tireless efforts to find a cure for cancer or AIDS to rest for a bit, decided to test whether Spider-Man’s web could actually save the day if a maniac like Doctor Octopus sent a speeding train toward its doom. Turns out, he could.

The researchers used real spiders’ webs to determine that the stiffness required (3.12 gigapascals … whatever the hell those things are) is on par with the strength of spider’s silk, and that the need to withstand up to 300,000 Newtons of force is in line with what Darwin’s bark spider naturally produces. You can read the full study in the Journal of Physics Special Topics. There’s no word yet on whether the trio plans to look into the validity of Catwoman’s nine lives.

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