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Tag: superhero

May 6, 2014

What Makes Spider-Man’s Web So Strong?

Spider-Man’s webs are pretty impressive, capable of supporting Spidey’s weight as he swings through New York, trapping super-villains and even suspending cars above city streets. What are they made of? And how are they made? Spider webs are notoriously strong, with spider silk reported as having a tensile strength of up to 1.75 gigapascals (GPa),… 

Apr 15, 2014

Why Captain America’s Shield Is Basically a Star-Spangled Supercapacitor

Captain America’s shield is famous for absorbing tremendous amounts of kinetic energy, from an artillery shell to a punch from the Hulk – keeping Cap not only safe, but on his feet.  What’s going on here? It’s tough to explain how the shield works, in part because it behaves differently under different circumstances. Sometimes the… 

Jul 10, 2013

Wolverine’s Claws and the Future of Metal Alloys (Snikt!)

The metal that makes Wolverine’s claws virtually indestructible may be a reality sooner than you think. If you know anything about the superhero Wolverine, you know that he has both retractable claws and a mutant power that allows him to heal from virtually any injury. In the comics, a Canadian government project called Weapon X… 

May 13, 2013

Iron Man, 3-D Printing and the Responsibility of Power

If you’ve seen Iron Man 3, you know that – SPOILER ALERT!!!! – billionaire inventor Tony Stark reveals dozens of specialized Iron Man power suits. As fantastic as the suits are, the technology Stark likely uses to make them is not far removed from reality – and neither are the big questions that such technology… 

Apr 24, 2013

Iron Man, Reverse Engineering and the Future of Materials Science

Iron Man 3 isn’t out yet, but the first two movies (and decades of Iron Man comics) raise some interesting questions about how scientists can create and utilize new materials – like the energy source for Iron Man’s suit. For those who have been shut off from pop culture, here’s a recap of the first… 

Feb 15, 2013

Thor’s Hammer Is Not That Heavy (But It Is Scientifically Interesting)

In early February, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said on Twitter that the superhero Thor’s Hammer (aka Mjolnir) “weighs as much as a herd of 300 billion elephants.” News outlets pounced on this, and the news was quickly circulating online. Sadly, Tyson was wrong. Tyson’s reasoning was based on the idea that Mjolnir was “made of…