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Everyone is familiar with the friendly neighborhood Spider-man's webbing: both organic as shown in Sam Raimi's Spider-man, or the Web-shooters version from every other Spider-man incarnation. My question might sound a bit of an overthinking but, exactly how strong are his webs?

According to Marvel Wikia (here), it says:

The web line's tensile strength has been estimated to be 120 pounds per square millimeter of cross section.

Well, that's one heck of a tensile strength. But in the movies and literally every version of the animated series, we see the super-villains and even super-heroes breaking off the webs so easily (In the Ultimate Spider-man animated series, even a non-super powered villain like Batroc the Leaper breaks through the webbing). But on the other hand, sometimes even the strongest guys find it difficult to break through the webbing. Why is it so? Does Spider-man carry cartridges with webbing of various (tensile) strengths?

  • It has the proportional strength of a spider (web). – Thunderforge Jan 14 '18 at 18:57
  • "both organic as shown in Sam Raimi's Spiderman, or the Web-shooters version from every other Spider-man incarnation". Nada: "both organic or the Web-shooters version as shown in the movies, or both organic or the Web-shooters version from every other Spider-man incarnation" – motoDrizzt Jan 14 '18 at 23:00
  • Spiderman's webbing though very strong can still be cut and burned. His webbing also isn't very good against high winds. Other heroes and villains are strong enough to break it. i.e. Iron Man, Hulk etc. – djm Feb 13 '18 at 18:16
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    His webbing is precisely as strong as the plot requires it to be. – Valorum Feb 13 '18 at 21:13
  • @Valorum my thoughts exactly. I just hoped that there was some explanation. – Shreedhar Feb 13 '18 at 21:45
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There are many different strengths. Spider-Man's webbing does have an immense tensile strength but is weaker in other areas like shear strength; so, in theory, it depends how the webbing is applied and thus what kind of forces the "webbee"can apply to it. Spider-Man can also fire his webbing in different "modes" as continuous ropes (likely the strongest) but also as sprays or globs both of which are probably easier to break.

Spider-Man's webbing also contains an enzyme that slowly breaks it down over time (it normal dissolves after an hour or so). While this is just speculation on my part, it likely also has to "harden" before it can provide its full strength; it is stored as a liquid. This hardening might depend slightly upon environmental conditions thus accounting for any random one-off times where ordinary humans are able to break out of Spider-Man's webs.

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