Arachnophobia — also known as the fear of spiders — might just have gotten scarier for some people. Spiders can produce a new type of web that is strong enough to hold humans, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday.

But don’t worry. The webs won’t be used to hold humans hostages. The idea is to create a fortified silk. It’s all thanks to scientists led by Nicola Pugno at Italy's University of Trento, who claimed parachutes could one day before weaved from spider webs.

When spider silk was combined with grapheme and carbon nanotubes, a composite that was five times stronger was produced. It has potential to become one of the strongest materials on earth.

“It is among the best spun polymer fibers in terms of tensile strength, ultimate strain, and especially toughness, even when compared to synthetic fibers such as Kevlar,” said Pugno in the 2D Materials journal, according to the SMH.

spider web Spiders are able to weave a web so strong that it could hold a human thanks to science. Photo: Getty Images

The spider drinks water that contains the nanotubes and then producers the enhanced web. The way spider digest helps create the improved silk.

“We already know that there are biominerals present in in the protein matrices and hard tissues of insects, which gives them high strength and hardness in their jaws, mandibles and teeth, for example,” Pugno noted. “So our study looked at whether spider silk's properties could be ‘enhanced’ by artificially incorporating various different nanomaterials into the silk's biological protein structures.”

While more testing is needed, there is a chance millions of spiders could one day be used to produce tons of enriched silk.

“Furthermore,” Pugno added in the study, “this process of the natural integration of reinforcements in biological structural materials could also be applied to other animals and plants, leading to a new class of ‘bionicomposites’ for innovative applications.”

Researching spider webs has been going on for years. In 2009, over a million spiders were used to create a golden cloth for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. At the time, it was the only large piece of cloth to be made from pure spider silk.

“There’s scientific research going on all over the world right now trying to replicate the tensile properties of spider silk and apply it to all sorts of areas in medicine and industry, but no one up until now has succeeded in replicating 100 percent of the properties of natural spider silk,” said textile expert Simon Peers, who was in charge of creating the gold cloth, told Wired. “Spider silk is very elastic, and it has a tensile strength that is incredibly strong compared to steel or Kevlar.”

The same spiders can be used, with them taking a week to regenerate the silk. “It’s like the gift that never stops giving,” Nicholas Godley, who co-led the project with Peers, told Wired. “We can go back and re-silk the same spiders.”

It’s seemingly impossible to create the silk without the help of spiders. “When we talk about a spider spinning silk, we’re talking about how the spider applies forces to produce a physical transformation from liquid to solid,” spider silk expert Todd Blackledge, who was not involved in the project, told Wired. “Scientists simply can’t replicate that as well as a spider does it. Every year we’re getting closer and closer to being able to mass-produce it, but we’re not there yet.”

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