Measuring Strength of Spider Web
Name: Marian S.
How can I measure the tensile strength of a spider web?
I am imagining that this will be a very difficult problem. For one thing,
studying actual webs that a spider is still using strikes me as unsavory as
you would be literally destroying a spider's home and means of obtaining
On the other hand, studying old webs (that have turned into cobwebs) includes
an additional parameter of time - older webs are partially degraded and
therefore less strong. Moreover, different spiders at different ages probably
make different strength webs. Before I would go about measuring spider web
strengths, I would check books to see if there is already data out there with
On the other hand, if you feel that you really want to measure the
a web on your own (remembering that different spiders may make different
strength webs), I would consider dropping different weights from a particular
height onto single strands of webbing to see at what point the web breaks.
Greg (Roberto Gregorius)
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Update: June 2012