Amazing Spider Web Strength

MorgueFile / MaryKBaird 
It is easy to think of a spider web as a group of sticky threads in a pattern. It is more than that, however. There are different strands for different purposes, and they even have unique functions. Break a strand? Not a problem for the arachnid in charge.

Imagine a cloth that gets stronger after it is damaged. That is what scientists recently discovered when probing the strength of garden spider webs.
A research team tested the resistance of a spider web's supporting radial threads and compared that with the thinner spiral threads. They found that placing a certain amount of pressure on just one thread caused it to suddenly stiffen and distribute the stress to the rest of the web.
Of course, too much damage eventually weakened the web, but the initial damage had the opposite effect. After investigators applied even more pressure, the additional stress was not transferred to the whole web, but to tiny protein crystals acting as stress points on the targeted strand. Whether the scientists pushed on a spiral or radial thread, only that strand broke, leaving the whole web intact.
You can spin your way over and finish reading "Scientists Decode Key to Spider Web Strength".