Thought for the month
“In the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.” John K. Galbraith, Economist (1908 – 2006).
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Marvel at Young’s Modulus
In the film Spiderman 2 the comic book hero manages to stop a runaway New York City subway train with his webbing. Calculations by physics students at Leicester University based on the weight, speed and stopping distance of the film’s four fully loaded R160 subway cars have been used to derive the mechanical properties required for Peter Parker’s webbing. They found that the Young’s modulus, or stiffness, of the web would need to have been 3.12 gigapascals (GPa). This figure is indeed compatible with naturally occurring spider's silk, which ranges from 1.5 GPa to 12 GPa in the orb-weaver spiders (family Araneidae). No webinar is available but the full paper is on-line.