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Magnetizing protection (Spiderman 2)

  1. May 28, 2014 #1


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    I just seen the Spiderman 2 movie and


    Gwen tells Peter to magnetize his webshooters so they won't be damaged by electro's lightning, since his webs seems to conduct electricity.

    Now, the explanation is that a magnetized object can hold electric charges. How is that? Also they magnetize it using a car battery.

    What i now from electromagnetism is that a ferromagnectic material can be magnetize if exposed to a very very strong magnetic field that will align the material domains and make it work like a magnet. This can be made with a strong electromagnet, which i believe can't be made from a car battery..

    But that's not the problem, since it's only a movie we expect things like that. My question is how does magnetizing a material makes it "hold electric charge" and how does this makes it imune to electricity? I know that in real life things doesn't work this way, but they should at least embase their facts in something real.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2014 #2
    It doesn't. You would store electric charge in an electric field, which doesn't have anything directly to do with magnetism. I'm not sure if magnetizing a metal even changes any of its electrical properties. I'm sure there are many more horrible examples of electricity misunderstanding. I don't think anybody who writes for Hollywood understands electricity.

    Another thing that bugs me about mass media is that people in metal armor are defeated by or at least more easily by electricity. Do you know what people working with high voltage (for example high voltage power lines and tesla coil demonstrations) wear for protection? Chain mail. Spiderman could pretty easily defeat someone with electrically conducting webbing by wearing chainmail that was always grounded.
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  4. Aug 22, 2014 #3
    Just watched the movie and I had to comment on this! As MrSparkle explained, a Faraday Cage (chain mail) would protect against electrical shock but the "web-shooters" would still need to be exposed. Also, Electro can pick things up and swing them around, like the police car, and if Spiderman wore chainmail I think Electro could bash him around pretty good. How can you do this with electricity? However, if it were a magnetic field then you could easily move metal, and having a magnetized web-shooter with opposite polarity would repel the field. Maybe it's an electromagnetic field. Who knows, it's a stupid over-the-top movie anyway. Either way, she claimed magnetizing it would allow it to "store" charge. Batteries and capacitors store charge, they aren't magnetized. The last thing to note is how they magnetize the web-shooters. They connect the +pos to one arm and the -neg to the other, and then sparks fly. To magnetize a material you need to wrap the wire around it, like a solenoid.

    The main reason I'm here is because of the statement "don't you remember from grade 8 science?". Made me feel stupid so I had to google stuff to make sure my understanding of EM theory still holds. Hollywood: As long as you look good.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2014
  5. Sep 14, 2014 #4
    good to know all this. I thought it all seemed pretty nonsensical but I wasn't sure why and couldn't have even begun to know precisely why or even where to begin looking to find out without this thread. Also... was his suit made out of rubber (not spandex) and was that why he wasn't electrocuted everywhere else on his body (never mind just his web shooters) and if his suit is made out of rubber how is he able to swing through town and fight for so long without getting heat exhaustion from the smothering effect a rubber suit must have on heat loss through the skin. ALSO If electro was solid electricity why didn't he earth out when he touched the ground he got his power from genetically altered electric eels though and they should earth out in the water since water conducts charge but they don't seem to earth out or electrocute themselves either (although a fire hose was enough to disorporate electro in his first battle scene). I was out of my depth completely in this movie. Maybe some educational exposition dialogue could have spared us all our grief.

    (at the absolute bare minimum they could have done too, was not kill Gwen.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2014
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