– Today’s episode is
sponsored by Puzzle Quest. (web shooting and grunting) Spider-Man has a problem. He’s supposed to be
able to do anything that a spider can and, yet, he
covers it all up with a suit. If a radioactive spider bit
you and gave you spider powers, why would you make a suit that covered up all of your spider hairs? You know, the thing
that lets you ‘spider’? I think there is a way around the suit’s stickiness problem and it’s with science. Duh. (light techno music) Uncle Carben. Here is the scene I’m talking about from the first Spider-Man film. In it Peter Parker grows tiny
barbed hairs on his hands, and presumably, his feet, and it’s implied that it’s those hairs that allow him to scale surfaces like a spider can. But, if that’s the case, wouldn’t putting a full bodysuit over all of your skin negate the effect that that hair produces? Yes, yes it would. But before we figure that out,
how do spiders climb stuff? Here is a tiny, poorly drawn spider. Now, enhance. (light clicking) Those little hairs on its feet that you can see with your own eyes what are on Tobey Maguire’s hands are called setae and they
are just micrometers thick. They are very, very small, but that’s not why spiders stick to stuff. Now, enhance again. (light clicking) At the end of every one of those setae are hundreds of spatulae. They are just nanometers
thick and the real reason why spiders can stick to stuff. And maybe how the Powerpuff
Girls’ hands work. Oh, gross! Let’s take a closer
look at those spatulae. These spatulae are so small, in fact, they are on the scale of individual atoms. And because they are so small, if you brought them close
to another set of atoms, like the atoms that make
up a wall, for example, there can be a weak electrical attraction. Because the electrons
that orbit the nucleii of atoms aren’t really like particles, they’re more like clouds of charge, if you bring two atoms
close enough together there is a chance those
charges, as they whiz around, will end up attracting each other, even though the atoms
themselves may be neutral. This is a weak force,
but it’s still something and it’s called the Van der Waals Force. Van der Waals forces are where most people trying to explain
Spider-Man’s stickiness stop. (web shooting) If you add up all the tiny interactions at the atomic level over the millions of spatulae that spider’s have, that explains how they stick to walls. Even the Marvel Handbook,
the official one, says something like this. Spider-Man enhances the
flux of interatomic forces on the surfaces that he touches, increasing the coefficient of friction between that surface and himself. The first part is, essentially,
Van der Waals forces and the second part is wrong,
but we’ll let that go for now. But we can go further. Do Van der Waals forces explain how a human-sized thing
could stick to a wall and does it solve the suit problem? If Spider-Man tried to climb
walls with actual spider hair, (squishing) it wouldn’t work. You may have heard of this study that came out a couple of years ago. It looked at a number of
different species to determine whether or not humans could
ever climb like spiders. It looked at 225 different species with Van der Waals
forces-enabled foot pads and concluded that across a
wide range of surface areas they were directly
proportional to the mass of that animal, from geckos to mites. The authors of this study
then extrapolated it to the body mass of humans
and, as you can see, the surface area would have to go way up. The authors concluded that you would need to devote a full 40% of your
entire body’s surface area to sticky Van der Waals pads in order to cling to a wall like Spider-Man. This is far more than we
ever see Spider-Man use. It’d be like if your whole chest was just one big spider foot and
you had to put your chest against a wall and kind of, like, shimmy around if you wanted to climb. And then you’d kind of look like a, like Slug Man, and no one wants to be Slug Man, or Snail
Girl, or Snail Boy. But all this doesn’t necessarily mean that Peter Parker can’t climb stuff. Another way to interpret
this study is that nature is focusing on surface area
and not actual stickiness of the Van der Waals pads
across a range of body sizes. So, what if Peter Parker, instead of having a lot of surface area, had abnormally sticky Van der Waals pads? That’s fine, it would get around that problem and we can’t
really speak to that, we’d have to invent some new biology. But, we still have the suit problem. Because Van der Waals
forces work on the scale of nanometers, any suit,
even if it’s very thin, would interfere with that interaction. And so, Spider-Man’s suit needs to be made out of material that is just as sticky as his abnormally sticky hands and feet. Do we know of any
material that can do that? If Spider-Man augmented his suit, just like he did with his web shooters, with science that we already have, he would be able to get
around the suit problem and climb just like a spider does. Looking to the stickiness of gecko feet, university researchers at Dayton, Akron, the Air Force and the Georgia
Institute of Technology have created a material
out of carbon nanotubes. A material so thin and so fine it has a Van der Waals interaction 10 times that of a gecko’s foot. And remember, the gecko is
basically the best at this. Time to do the math. If Peter Parker is 76 kilograms
and is under Earth’s gravity and the new material made
out of carbon nanotubes can support a hundred newtons of weight for every square centimeter, then Spider-Man’s suit would only need to devote seven and a
half square centimeters, in total, to stickiness. But is this enough? When Spider-Man is climbing
it looks like he’s only using his fingertips and,
presumably, his toe tips. So is there enough surface area across all of your fingers and
toes to hold you up? Well, given that each one of my fingertips is around three square centimeters, and I have 20 of those, I get nine. Which means that there is
nine times more surface area than you need to stick
to a wall like Spider-Man if you’re using this
carbon nanotube material. That means you could definitely climb like Spider-Man if your suit was using this material on just
fingertips and toe tips. In fact, you could climb a wall just like Spider-Man and hold your whole body weight on a
wall using just three… (squirting) Oh, oh! Three fingers. And also, Spider-Man’s skin would need to be this sticky to work. Eww, ugh, ehhhh, ehhhh! So how does Spider-Man climb
walls if he’s wearing a suit? Well, Peter Parker is a science whiz, he would know that the
nanoscale interactions that allow him to climb
a wall with his bare skin would be negated if a suit came in between a wall and his skin. So, what I think he is
doing is augmenting his suit with science just like how
he did with the web shooters. He has created a material
that goes on the outside of the suit that gives it
the adequate stickiness to give him super spider powers. Spider-Man can do anything a spider can. And so his suit has to, too. It just needs a little help. Because science. (webs shooting) (light techno music) Thank you so much for watching. Make sure to follow me
on Twitter @Sci_Phile where you can suggest
ideas for future episodes. And on Facebook and Instagram where I’m now posting mini-episodes, Amy. And if you want more silliness
check out one of my shows with my colleague, Dan Casey,
it’s very, it’s very weird. It’s called Muskwatch, that’s
all you need to know about it. And if you want something a
little bit more, ooh, premium, check out my new show on ProjectAlpha.com called the S.P.A.A.C.E Program. It’s like Cosmos had a
weird, long-haired baby with Mystery Science Theater 3000. Thanks. Special thanks to Marvel Puzzle Quest for sponsoring today’s episode. If you like Marvel and Match 3 Games check out Marvel Puzzle Quest, and homecoming is the perfect
time to start playing. No, I’m not talking about teens, I’m talking about Spider-Man Homecoming. An all-new five star Spider-Man
has been added to the game in celebration of the web
slinger’s upcoming film. Recruit Spidey and play
two all-new boss missions featuring the Sinister Six. Grab it on the Apple App
Store or Google play now. Thanks, Puzzle Quest. It’s not just about how
Spider-Man sticks to stuff, it’s also, if you’re
climbing, you think about it, it’s also how you unstick from stuff. Using that material that
we just went through he’d be able to do three points of
contact and climb just fine. He could hold onto the wall
with just three fingers. But how do you stick and then unstick? Well, the cool thing is the orientation of this material matters. If it’s at one angle it’s sticky
and it will stay on a wall. If it is at another angle,
it will just detach, that’s how gecko feet work. I mean, just using, (squirts) oh! Gotta stop. Gotta stop doing that. (techno jingle)

How Can Spider-Man Climb While Wearing a Suit? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)
Tagged on:                                                                         

100 thoughts on “How Can Spider-Man Climb While Wearing a Suit? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)

  • July 6, 2017 at 5:01 pm
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    But how would a bite from a radioactive spider turn Peter Parker into a superhero? New mini-ep over on my Insta (https://www.instagram.com/sci_Phile/). Thanks for watching! — KH

    Reply
  • December 22, 2018 at 2:04 am
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    The hair probably goes through the fabric

    Reply
  • December 26, 2018 at 5:23 am
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    Many the hairs go though the suit, the hairs could be small enough to fit though the suits micro holes.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2018 at 1:42 am
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    Do a Room Tour!

    Reply
  • December 29, 2018 at 4:01 am
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    In the maguire movies it's spider hair in the rest it's adhesive skin so his suit makes him climbing walls impossible

    Reply
  • December 29, 2018 at 4:22 pm
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    But why couldn't he make the suit and be a super hero, all without gjetting bit by the spider?

    Reply
  • January 3, 2019 at 1:36 am
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    Plus the shoes he is wearing in spiderman 1! I've always had a beef with this very issue…

    Reply
  • January 3, 2019 at 6:33 pm
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    I thought he shot webs from his hands? So webbing isn’t really his superpower

    Reply
  • January 5, 2019 at 5:27 pm
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    I never understand the puns

    Reply
  • January 7, 2019 at 3:39 am
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    If spider man can do everything a spider can than were is his venom and Fangs and spider eyes many many spider eye

    Reply
  • January 8, 2019 at 5:11 am
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    so how does he use his stickiness with the iron spider this is gold-titanium

    Reply
  • January 13, 2019 at 2:33 am
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    I feel like most people are forgetting the Peter Parker is a high school student so I don’t think he could afford to get nano carbon tubing nor get access to it and if he did, I’m sure the government would be all over it. Because real world

    Reply
  • January 13, 2019 at 5:50 am
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    I always thought(before the movies) that he just had a weird gravity control where he can increase his gravitational pull on VERY close things to stick to them

    Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 7:02 am
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    He literally has nano suit right now how can he climb?

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  • January 16, 2019 at 10:02 pm
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    How does he create web from his wrists?

    By the way, in the movies his webs were biological mutations from the spider bite. In the 1960’s comics, the web sprayer and web fluid was his invention.

    Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 11:58 pm
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    Am i the Only Person who thinks He's only talking about Tobey

    Reply
  • January 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm
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    interesting

    Reply
  • January 19, 2019 at 2:08 am
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    Maybe the hairs are so small but so strong that they go through theTINY TINY holes in the suit and in the walls edit: I was really getting into it and thinking about it then remembered that it’s not real………..

    Reply
  • January 25, 2019 at 4:16 am
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    wow

    Reply
  • January 26, 2019 at 9:32 pm
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    Or maybe he put tiny hole in his suit for the hairs

    Reply
  • January 27, 2019 at 5:02 am
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    Makes a video on Batman. Can a man survive so much tragedy and still be sane

    Reply
  • January 30, 2019 at 5:07 am
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    Cuz its not real

    Reply
  • January 31, 2019 at 12:26 am
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    In the comics he has electromagnetic powers or something like that that allows him tho cling to objects

    Reply
  • February 2, 2019 at 1:08 am
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    I’ve always wondered about this

    Reply
  • February 6, 2019 at 1:40 am
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    Do the science behind some of James Bonds gadgets.

    Reply
  • February 6, 2019 at 2:32 am
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    Please. It was explained in the first movie.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 12:45 pm
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    he use rubber shoes when is not using the suit and on the spider-verse ew spiderman movie he use jordan 1 shoes so how is that

    Reply
  • February 19, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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    Wouldn't the weight of spidermans body tear his skin if he climbed using just his fingertips

    Reply
  • February 19, 2019 at 11:56 pm
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    At 00:55 LOL
    How TF his legs dont slide, I mean he wearing a fkn shoes for Pets sake.

    Reply
  • February 24, 2019 at 12:53 pm
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    This might be a little late but I have a question since Spider-Man's abilities through his suit could still be possible what about the amount of strength he would need for his swinging considering he swings at a high rate of speed

    Reply
  • February 28, 2019 at 7:09 pm
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    I like this guy's analysis mixing science fiction with science giving some credibility to the characters he talks about.

    Reply
  • March 2, 2019 at 11:45 am
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    why does green goblin have pumpkin bombs and rides on a glider .

    Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 4:31 am
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    bruh… what is that material called

    Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 2:46 pm
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    Bc he’s the human spider 🕷

    Reply
  • March 5, 2019 at 12:19 pm
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    So…how much do carbon nanotube spider-gloves cost? Cuz if we have the technology, I wanna buy that shit.

    Reply
  • March 7, 2019 at 4:28 am
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    So can I just buy like carbon nanotubes cause I'm willing to try to climb a wall

    Reply
  • March 9, 2019 at 8:47 pm
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    They actually explain it in the comics! Spider-Man doesn't have small hairs on his hands/feet, and he also doesn't get any help from the suit. He can control the level of attraction between atoms which means he can stick any part of his body to walls.

    Reply
  • March 13, 2019 at 3:04 am
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    Maybe the suit has tiny holes

    Reply
  • March 14, 2019 at 11:55 am
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    YES! THIS IS THE PROBLEM I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT FOR YEARS!

    Reply
  • March 16, 2019 at 6:56 am
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    Could he also just make the material at the fingertips super thin?

    Reply
  • March 20, 2019 at 2:57 am
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    did he just insult Snail-chan?

    Reply
  • March 21, 2019 at 3:33 pm
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    That doesn't explain how he was able to climb with his shoes on, in the scene lol

    Reply
  • March 22, 2019 at 12:11 am
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    The spider hairs go through the fabric.

    Reply
  • March 22, 2019 at 11:42 pm
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    Yeah sorry, but the movie versions got it way wrong, either by accident or because they didn't think movie-goers would understand the actual mechanism at work. His power allows him to control the electrostatic force between molecular boundaries. Normally the outer electron shell is mutually repulsive, but his ability overcomes this. The actual explanation of his ability also brings more "sense" to the actual force of attraction, said to be in the range of several tons per finger. That amount pulling on some tiny hairs would rip the damn hairs right out of his body, because his skin isn't that tough on it's own.

    Reply
  • March 23, 2019 at 1:10 pm
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    I know a material

    Flex tape

    Reply
  • March 27, 2019 at 12:56 am
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    miles morales in spiderverse can stick on walls through the soles of his chicago jordan 1s

    Reply
  • March 28, 2019 at 5:54 pm
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    So his actual ability to climb is pointless because his suit does it for him.

    Reply
  • March 30, 2019 at 3:19 am
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    The way they he "shoots" his spider webs that's not how he shoots his webs dumb ass

    Reply
  • March 31, 2019 at 5:18 am
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    So what you’re saying is…I can be Spider-Man

    Reply
  • March 31, 2019 at 7:32 am
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    Snail girl? Maybe…

    Reply
  • March 31, 2019 at 10:07 am
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    HmMmMmMmMm, inthreshting topic, but im more intrested in how spiderman can use his feet while climbing a wall with fucking boots on

    Reply
  • April 2, 2019 at 8:09 pm
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    It’s actually the hairs goes through the suit

    Reply
  • April 4, 2019 at 10:47 pm
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    What's Thor doing talking about spiderman,

    Reply
  • April 6, 2019 at 7:03 am
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    flex gloo…

    Reply
  • April 8, 2019 at 7:22 am
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    Love your vids! Can you do an episode/s on the properties of Flubber?

    Reply
  • April 8, 2019 at 2:31 pm
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    Ehm… Kyle… Van der Waal is Dutch… not German…

    Reply
  • April 17, 2019 at 3:17 pm
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    mukang garapata yung drinowing ni kyle na gagamba

    Reply
  • April 30, 2019 at 6:14 pm
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    And shoes

    Reply
  • May 6, 2019 at 9:42 am
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    ugh.. interpolation

    Reply
  • May 13, 2019 at 6:03 pm
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    U look like thor

    Reply
  • May 21, 2019 at 3:06 pm
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    You look like Thor

    I approve

    Reply
  • May 22, 2019 at 1:56 am
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    ok but if he washes his suit would it wash off the stickyness?

    Reply
  • May 31, 2019 at 3:47 am
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    Imagine watching the first spider man with no knowledge of the character and also being a scientist you would be pissed

    Reply
  • May 31, 2019 at 6:00 am
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    Nobody wants to be Snailboy or Sluggirl

    Reply
  • June 2, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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    If it were really his suit, then how would he be able to unstick? Isn't it when he relaxes he can unstick. And he can still stick without his suit.

    Reply
  • June 3, 2019 at 9:26 am
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    You're so damn handsome!

    Reply
  • June 9, 2019 at 1:13 pm
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    Anyone else really want a suit like that?

    Reply
  • June 10, 2019 at 8:46 pm
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    Wait so Spider-Man has a super powered ability to attach to walls like a spider, and yet he has to invent a substance to do that same thing just because he's wearing a suit? Why not cut some finger and toe holes out of the suit? Seems like it'd be more efficient.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 9:56 am
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    SCIENCE MOTHERFUCKER

    Reply
  • July 4, 2019 at 11:27 pm
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    If a radioactive spider bit you

    You probably wont have any effect ither than radiated radiation

    Reply
  • July 6, 2019 at 9:36 pm
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    Can you make a video explaining how maguire s spider man can shoot webs throug his suit ? please ??

    Reply
  • July 8, 2019 at 9:44 pm
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    He would also be able to be strong enough to essentially pull up his entire body weight, even more if he's holding something, by his fingers.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2019 at 7:46 pm
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    God that hair is amazing xD

    Reply
  • July 10, 2019 at 5:52 am
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    RIP Gecko ;~;

    Reply
  • July 10, 2019 at 6:36 am
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    So I'm 240 lbs right? The thing is, I don't think I'd be able to climb a wall with my fingertips if I'm 240 lbs right?

    Reply
  • July 15, 2019 at 7:51 am
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    Soo… basically we could become spider-Man?

    Reply
  • July 15, 2019 at 8:50 pm
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    Oh lord… That PPG joke…

    Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 10:11 pm
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    SPOILER ALERT for FAR FROM HOME. This comment may be construed as containing a SPOILER for FAR FROM HOME.

    So spiderm'n's super power is to be able to stick to the inside of a suit? (plus be super strong, agile, and have a peter tingle), otherwise any normal person might be able to wear the suit and climb walls.

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 5:48 pm
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    You speak to fast

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 11:02 pm
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    Or you know. He could just wear fingerless gloves

    Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 6:50 am
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    Bruhhhhhh thank god for this

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 7:03 pm
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    I always thought that peter just put little itty bitty holes in his suit and at the time I had forgotten about the hairs so I thought his bare fingers are what was sticky and obviously some of you may (ha get it) be thinking “Ummmmm well peter has fingerprints and someone could get those prints and know peter’s identity” first off fingerprints aren’t always right and second part there won’t be enough print to discover who he is

    Reply
  • July 30, 2019 at 9:32 pm
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    Coming in late and reviving dead threads! When spiderman stands perpendicular to a wall, would gravity and the leverage of his body cause his Peter parker peets to peel off the wall he is standing on? If not then he must obviously have some amazing spider ankles…… spankles……spidankles….. I'll let myself out.

    Reply
  • August 1, 2019 at 3:18 pm
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    his suit has little tiny holes all over it, its not all covered it is just covered enough so people dont know spodermans peter

    Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 2:12 am
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    Soooo, I could climb walls like Spider-Man (notice the hyphen 😁) if I got my hands on some of this magic material? Do they have it at Area 51?

    Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 6:56 am
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    Yo guys when we get a real life spiderman we all know its gonna be this guy

    Reply
  • August 3, 2019 at 10:28 pm
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    Wat if the hairs are really pointy and the they just stab through the suit

    Reply
  • August 4, 2019 at 12:25 am
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    So based on that logic, anyone wearing the suit could climb walls. Got it!👍

    Reply
  • August 5, 2019 at 11:08 pm
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    Still think it would’ve been smarter to give the suit fingerless gloves

    Reply
  • August 6, 2019 at 10:59 pm
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    What dont use tech to climb WALL

    Reply
  • August 8, 2019 at 7:05 am
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    So the suit would do all the work and Peter is basically a normal person. Well, that sucks.

    Reply
  • August 13, 2019 at 9:06 am
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    I will have you know that my legs are so hairy that occasionally some hairs stick out through the trousers. Therefore the hairs might just stick out of the suit.

    Reply
  • August 14, 2019 at 5:14 am
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    You forgot one crucial fact, spider-man has spider-strength, with an upper limit of several tons per finger. He literally has enough strength to either climb walls with one finger and one toe or imbed his fingers into most walls and climb. Also his endurance. I'm not a rock climber but its pretty taxing on the upper back and shoulders to climb even for 3 mins straight. Spider-mans strength and endurance negates normal human fatigue. Thats why climbing for him is just like walking, he literally won't feel fatigue unless he's climbing non-stop for hours

    Reply
  • August 19, 2019 at 12:02 pm
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    Title: "How Can Spider-Man Climb While Wearing a Suit?"
    Answer: Duct tape.

    Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 6:20 am
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    rip spiderman no longer being in the mcu

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 5:47 am
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    Please stop sticking

    Reply
  • September 15, 2019 at 12:45 am
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    Dumbs**t SCIENCE!!!

    Reply

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