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Q & A: scaling spiders

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
I had someone a while back tell me that if you scaled a spider up to about the size of a human it wouldn’t be able to stand up I’m pritty sure this is wrong. I mean if you scaled EVERYTHING up exactly it should work the same as if it where small. So I thought maby he was right and I’d ask. Thanks
- James
U.S
A:
Your friend is right. Galileo figured this one out. Say you made a spider 1000 times bigger in each direction. The weight would be up by 1000x1000x1000, or 1,000,000,000 (a billion) times. The thickness (area) of the legs would only be up 1000x1000, or 1,000,000 (a million) times. So there would be 1000 times as much weight per cross-sectional area of the legs. They'd break.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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