After never having developed the ability to fly, many spider species have developed an inexplicable skill to fly using nothing beyond a couple of short strands of silk hanging down in order to transport themselves through the air.
The exact mechanism by which this invertebrate version of paragliding operates has never been fully understood, however, scientists have long suspected it had much to do with whirling eddies of heated air near to the Earth’s surface.
Nevertheless, as proof mounts in favor of an ingenious steampunk mechanism, a rival theory is gaining ground. Instead of soaring through the air on thermals, spiders may be propelled into the sky by electrical currents.
Scientists at the University of Bristol performed experiments in 2018 that demonstrated that electric fields created by weather activity might be powerful enough to lift a singular electrostatically charged thread of webbing and its aeronautical spider enough off the floor.
Now, new research that models the mathematics underlying the electromagnetic interactions on several hanging spider threads has added key new elements to the topic by providing significant new information.
This is not to claim that electric charges are always or entirely responsible for the phenomena known as ballooning, which may occur in either a whole or partial manner. However, it does provide answers to a slew of issues about the real physics at play.
However, quantifying the electrostatic charge of a small drift of string in a laboratory setting is much more difficult than it seems at first.
Consequently, researchers used straightforward modeling to understand how a singular electrostatically loaded strand may interact with the atmosphere’s own lightly charged field, keeping things as basic as possible.
Real ballooning spiders have the ability to weave two, three, or even dozens of thin threads at a time to propel themselves upward and away. It is still unclear how each thread, which has been covered in negatively charged material, will engage with the other strands in the system.
Tiesha loves to share her passion for everything that’s beautiful in this world. Apart from writing on her beauty blog and running her own beauty channel on Youtube, she also enjoys traveling and photography. Tiesha covers various stories on the website.