Scientists have done the impossible once again and proved that a fictional concept can’t be real. A new article in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” explained that Spider-Man’s ability to stick and climb to walls would be impossible in the real world.
While explaining how “sticky” animals could help advance research in bio-adhesives, a group of scientists explained that the human body would need to be 80% covered with sticky pads (or a similarly adhesive material) in order to stick to a wall or similar surface. The study found that only creatures smaller than a gecko would be able to stick to walls naturally with the use of sticky footpads and that larger creatures would either require significantly more adhesive pads (which would then hinder movement walking up and down walls) or much more of the body to be covered in sticky material to mimic a spider’s ability to climb walls. So, in order for Spider-Man to effectively climb up walls with “sticky” feet, the hero would need a foot one meter long and 40 centimeters wide.
Of course, outside of the Spider-Man films, Spider-Man doesn’t use adhesive properties to stick onto walls. Marvel has suggested Spider-Man’s “sticky” powers come from a natural ability to enhance the inter-atomic attractive forces on the surfaces he touches, allowing him to increase the friction between his body and those objects to otherwise impossible amounts. In fact, Spider-Man’s tactile cohesion ability has proved strong enough to withstand several tons of force, although his power is limited by the strength of the surface Spider-Man is standing on. If that remains the official scientific explanation for his powers, the study actually confirms that Spider-Man COULD in fact climb up walls, given that his abilities are far stickier than the natural pads of spiders or other creatures.
You can read the full study in the latest edition of the “Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Science”, available wherever scientific journals are sold.