A group of researchers from MIT has revealed the secret behind the resistance of spider’s web. According to them not only the potency of spider’s silk but also the elasticity and the structure of the web is responsible for the outstanding resistance.
Markus Buehler, an associate professor of the civil and environmental engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has mentioned that along with his colleagues he was examining the structure of the spider webs to build up advanced synthetic materials for damage resistance and networking systems. They found significant elements in spider web that provides the resistance of the web.
Spider silk is one of the strongest substances that man has discovered. It is even stronger than steel. Spider web extracts its strength from its elasticity. Elasticity is often considered as a weakness. If you pull a spider web primarily it relaxed and stretches. But then stiffens with the increased pulling power. This is how spider web prevent damage. The researcher team arranged the materials in the pattern of a spider web and tested their resistance power against stress. They found that the materials which are primarily stretchy in character turns ‘plastic’ when pulled and other materials work as linear springs.
Spider web builds up a flaw-tolerant system which helps in repairing localized damages. Even if the system fails to repair the damage the web continues to work as before. The researchers tested their theory on a actual spider web and found the web to be damaged at the initial stage but then the threads which were pulled became stiff. Then those threads broke when researchers applied more forceful pulling.
Markus Buehler has explained that a spider web has the power to stand against a full strength hurricane. Researchers are now looking forward to develop a new technology using the principles of spider web, a technology that will be used to develop buildings that will be flexible at a certain level.
The study reports have been appeared in Nature.