With the recent success of Spider-Man: Far From Home, let’s take a look at the spider silk which Peter Parker a.k.a Spider-Man uses to perform antics that are only imaginable.
Do you remember? This one scene from Spider-Man: Homecoming where he joins two parts of the big ferry with only flimsy-looking strands of spider web which seemed to violate gravity and physics? Well, it can exist in reality.
The silk uses nanocrystals, which are about 1/40 of the diameter of a human hair strand. A 2mm wide silk strand can support up to 408 kilograms, roughly a polar bear. The silk is stretchy, elastic and made up of proteins. The nanocrystals constitute of carbon tubes. Covalent bonding between carbon atoms gives rise to carbon sheets, which in turn are rolled to make the tubes. They are one of the strongest materials known to man and are 100 times stronger than steel.
Carbon tubes are not a work of fiction. A carbon tube of human hair strand thickness can support up to 18000 kilograms, which then reminds us of the ferry scene. The thickness of the carbon tubes is directly proportional to the load that they can carry. For instance, Peter Parker uses thinner strands of silk to fix something and thicker strands to perform his antics.
Carbon tubes are the future of clothing. Lightweight clothing, wiring and a future Spider-Man are the possible outcomes of carbon tubes. Maybe, in the future, we can see a teenager skydiving over 1000 meters, calling himself Spider-Man.