Are cobwebs flammable?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Cobwebs are indeed flammable. When it comes to flammability, spider webs are not designed to resist fire. The delicate and fine threads that make up a cobweb are highly susceptible to catching fire and quickly disappearing when exposed to even a relatively low flame.

The flammability of cobwebs can be attributed to their composition. Spider silk, which is the material spiders use to create their webs, is primarily made up of proteins. These proteins are organic compounds that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms. While proteins have many important properties and functions, they are also combustible.

When a flame comes into contact with a cobweb, the heat causes the proteins in the spider silk to break down. This process, known as pyrolysis, leads to the release of flammable gases and vapors. These gases and vapors can then ignite, resulting in the disappearance of the cobweb.

It is important to note that cobwebs do not typically produce large flames when they catch fire. Instead, they tend to burn quietly and quickly, often without a noticeable flame. This is because the fine threads of the cobweb allow the heat to spread rapidly, causing the entire web to burn at once. The lack of a visible flame can make it easy for a cobweb fire to go unnoticed until it has already burned away.

Personal experiences and observations can further support the fact that cobwebs are flammable. For instance, if you have ever accidentally brought a flame too close to a cobweb while lighting a candle or a fireplace, you may have witnessed the cobweb vanishing almost instantly. This sudden disappearance is a result of the web’s flammability and the rapid spread of heat through the delicate threads.

Cobwebs are indeed flammable due to the combustible nature of the proteins in spider silk. The fine threads of a cobweb allow heat to spread quickly, causing the entire web to burn rapidly without producing a noticeable flame. Personal experiences and observations can further confirm the flammability of cobwebs.