close menu
Because ScienceBecause Science

How Does Spider-Man Climb Walls with His Suit On?

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, may do whatever a spider can, but if Peter Parker covers all that ability up with a suit, would he still be an effective hero? This is what I’m deeming “the suit problem” — it’s implied that Spider-Man uses the same anatomy that spiders do to climb walls, but that anatomy is critically dependent on close contact with surfaces. If a suit got in the way of those tiny barbed hairs, in other words, wouldn’t wall-crawling be impossible?

In my latest Because Science, we’re taking the suit problem abdomen-on. Peter is a smart kid, a science whiz, so he would probably know that spiders take advantage of what are called Van der Waals forces when wall crawling. These forces are minuscule electric attractions that occur when atoms are very close together, despite being neutral. The forces are small, but add them up over literally millions of hair ends, and something spider-sized can stick to walls. But Peter would also know this wouldn’t scale up for a human teen…

webbed

So how does Spider-Man get around the suit problem? Check out my latest episode above to find out!

Check out my last video on how the biology in every ALIEN movie fits together (probably); subscribe to this playlist to stay current with the show; buy a Because Science shirt, mug, hat, or collectible pin (the SURPRISE LIGHTSABER! shirts are in!); and follow me on Twitter to give me a suggestion for the next episode or on Instagram where I’m now posting extra mini-episodes!

Want Because Science days (!) before anyone else? Subscribe to Alpha for early access to the show and peep my new show The S.P.A.A.C.E. Program!

Final Images from Cassini Are Stunning

Final Images from Cassini Are Stunning

article
What If THOR: RAGNAROK Were Actually Made in the 1980s?

What If THOR: RAGNAROK Were Actually Made in the 1980s?

video
Stephen King's 8 Favorite Films

Stephen King's 8 Favorite Films

article