Could Spider-Man’s Web Be Real? The Spider That Produces The World’s Strongest Fiber

Consider a material that is both stronger than steel and more flexible than rubber. Moreover, it is even more conductive than copper. This material that looks like it’s straight out of fantasy literature really exists: Graphene. It is one of the honeycomb-like structures of the carbon atom, and a structure where graphene layers are stacked layer by layer on top of each other is something you probably have at home. When we look at the tip of a pencil, we look at the graphite, which is made of graphenes arranged on top of each other like the Jenga tower.

We have another natural substance known to everyone which is a candidate for the top of the list of the most durable materials: Spider webs. Much more durable and flexible than steel and Kevlar. Just like graphene. But what if we manage to combine these two super-durable materials? Spider-Man may not just stay in the fantasy world!

A New World: Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes

If you are familiar with the world of chemistry, you may have heard the word allotrope before. It is possible to translate this word, which entered the world of science from Greek, into English asother form or “other matter”. To make a more scientific definition, we call something an allotrope when the atoms of an element are arranged differently to form different structures.

For example, the graphite found at the tip of pencils is just one of the allotropes of the carbon atom. If you want to get more detailed information about graphite, you can read our article “How Does Eraser Erase Pencil Traces?“. Graphene is a layer of graphite that is one carbon atom thick. When hexagonal, honeycomb-like graphene is folded into a cylinder, the carbon nanotubes are formed.


Let’s use an analogy to better understand graphite, graphene, and carbon nanotube. If we imagine stacks of paper stacked on top of each other as graphite, graphene becomes just a sheet of paper. The cylindrical folded form of this paper is called a carbon nanotube. The most important feature of these carbon nanotubes is that they are very, very small (nano = one billionth of a meter) yet surprisingly tough.

What do we mean by “Strong Material”?

We can determine whether a material is more advantageous than others according to whether it meets the needs of the modern world or not. Today’s technology needs materials that are light, small, and durable, that is, robust. At this point, the carbon nanotubes we mentioned above come to our aid.  

Spider Web

Despite their atomic-scale simple structures, these synthetic structures, which are even stronger than steel, present a magical world to scientists. This magic material, which overlaps with the needs of the modern world like a puzzle piece, is referred to as “strong” by the scientific community. Therefore, what we mean by “strong material” here is actually solid, durable material.

But What If Spiders Feed On These Materials?

It sounds very strange, but scientists have thought about it, too. When a group of spiders is fed a solution of graphene and carbon nanotubes, the result is astonishing. When the spider webs produced by these spiders were examined, a super-strong material was discovered.

Graphene and CNT

It’s hard to believe, but this web is strong enough to carry a person. Moreover, it is stronger even than Kevlar, which is frequently used in today’s defense industry where we encounter them in the production of bulletproof vests and armor. Surely, there are those who know the Spider-Man story. To make an analogy, our red spider-man turns into a black spider-man after drinking this solution. It has a much stronger and more robust web.  

How the spiders’ bodies produce this web remains a mystery, leading us to think that a spider can truly be a superhero. Who knows, maybe in the near future Spider-Man will not be just fiction!

References and Further Reading

Add a Piece of Graphene to the Spider Web to Produce the Strongest Fiber . KBT Science Site. (2015 , May 7). Retrieved June 19, 2022, from Add a Piece of Graphene to Spider Web to Produce the Strongest Fiber – KBT Science Site (

Spider Drinks Graphene, Spins Web That Can Hold The Weight of a Human. Treehugger. (2017, November 29). Retrieved June 19, 202, from Spider Drinks Graphene, Spins Web That Can Hold theWeight of a Human (

Wikimedia Foundation. (2010, August 26). Graphene . Wikipedia . Retrieved June 19, 2022 from Graphen Graphen Wikipedia (

Wikimedia Foundation. (2007, March 1). Diamond and Graphite _ Wikipedia , the free encyclopedia Retrieved June 19 , 2022 from Wikipedia , the free encyclopedia _

Wikimedia Foundation. ( 2008, March 6). Spider-Man . Wikipedia . Retrieved June 19, 2022 from Spiderman Wikipedia (

Wikimedia Foundation. ( 2017, July 1). The Classic Circular Form Spider’s Web . Wikipedia , the free encyclopedia Retrieved June 19, 2022 from A classic circular shape spider’s web – Cape Town – Wikipedia (

The proofreading has been done by Asu Pelin Akköse and Mete Esencan.

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Elif Nur Adalı

Hello! I'm Elif Nur Adali. I am an undergraduate student at Bilkent University, Department of Chemistry. I try to write enjoyable articles that can be understood by everyone by combining my love of science with the lessons I took at the university. I see writing as a conversation tool for science lovers like me. I'm so excited to be able to chat with you through OkButWhy!

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