The Strength of Spider Silk

March 24, 2021

Menashe - spider silk image

Photographer: Menashe Davidson
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson

Last summer while spraying my citrus plantation I used an air blast sprayer to create a wind distributing water drops containing pesticide to all parts of the trees. While checking the droplet coverage, I observed the spider web seen above. The web was 6.5 feet (2 m) wide and fully exposed to the blower wind. I was surprised to see that the artificial storm had done no damage to the web. Indeed, it looked even more beautiful with spray drops attached to the threads. The size of each water drop is related to the number of thread ends in a junction. This was an excellent demonstration to me of the strength and toughness of spider silk. Photo taken June 17, 2020.