Spider-Man Homecoming

Launch worksheet

Launch solution 

The Movie

Spider-Man: Homecoming is yet another recent reboot of the series. It follows the high school life of a young Peter Parker as he tries to live a normal life while also fighting crime as a secret superhero.

Web Shooting

Spider-Man is able to move through the city by shooting web out of his hands and swinging from buildings.

Evgenii Naumov / vitaliyvill / 123rf.com.

If the web is shot out like a projectile (that is, it isn’t powered itself), we can work out the velocity it would need to reach 100 metres vertically up into the air:

Velocity required = sqrt(2 × g × h)

Velocity required = sqrt(2 × 9.81 × 100)

Velocity required = 44.29 m/s

Velocity required = 159.5 km/hr

Lifting Heavy Objects with Spider Web

Spider-Man is shown to be able to lift heavy objects like cars throughout all the movie series. You may have heard that spider web is incredibly strong – but how much would you need to lift up a car?

Mycteria / 123rf.com.

The tensile strength of spider web is about 1000 Megapascals (MPa) [1]. This strength rating means it can support a load of 1 billion Newtons on a spider web with a cross-sectional area of 1 square metre.

A heavy car might weigh 2000 kg. We can work out the web diameter needed to hold the car up:

Web cross-sectional area = πr2

Web load capacity = 1 × 109 × πr2

where the area is given in square metres.

A 2000 kg car requires 9.81 × 2000 = 19620 Newtons of force to hold it up.

Web load capacity = 1 × 109 × πr2

19620 = 1 × 109 × πr2

r = 0.0025 m

So you’d need a web with a diameter of 5 mm to hold up a car.

Spider Web Supply

When Spider-Man goes off for a journey across the city, he needs to have enough spider web with him to last the journey. Let’s say he has to go 5 km across town and then 5km back again, and that he has to shoot a 100-metre-long web every 200 metres to swing from the next building.

Spider web has a density of about 1.3 grams per cubic centimetre, or 1300 kg per cubic metre. Let’s assume he’s shooting webs with a diameter of 3 mm. How much spider web will he need to have with him at the beginning of the journey?

Total web weight = #shots × volume per shot × density

Let’s work out the #shots first:

#shots = distance / distance between shots

#shots = (5 + 5) / 0.2

#shots = 50

Now work out the volume per shot:

Volume per shot = length × cross-sectional area

Volume per shot = length × πr2

Volume per shot = 100 × π × 0.00152

Volume per shot = 0.0007069 m3

Put it all together:

Total web weight = #shots × volume per shot × density

Total web weight = 50 × 0.0007069 × 1300 kg/m3

Total web weight = 45.95 kg

That’s a fair amount of extra weight to carry while flying through the air!