Ever sit in a movie and think to yourself that’s just too far-fetched? Well, three scientists who watched the Sam Raimi Spiderman 2 did just that.
The sequence where Spider-man has to stop a runaway train by bracing it with web before it crashes (above) made such an impression on a group of boffins, that they decided to see if a spider web could indeed stop a runaway train. And guess what? They have concluded that a spider web, if big enough, could stop a train.
The three students from Leicester calculated that if a spider web was grown to a big enough size it could actually absorb a train’s acceleration of 300,000 Newtons. The web would have to deal with 500 million joules of energy. And they found that just as there is one Spidey, only one spider in nature is up to the job.
Darwin’s bark spider from Madagascar (left) is the true hero of the day with its orb shaped webs that are 10 times stronger than Kevlar. Alex Stone, one of the people involved, said he and his friends wanted to test the theory that spider silk is actually stronger then steel. And you have to admit, even Stan Lee never saw that one coming.
Problem is though, to spin a web that size would take a giant spider. Imagine that scene, Spider-man trapped on a speeding train about to crash off the end of a bridge, passengers are screaming, time is running out, webs are stretching to breaking point and the end is near. The train stops just short of doom. Everyone sighs in relief. Then a giant bark spider attacks.
Now THAT would be worth seeing.