Gecko Tape

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Gecko Tape
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We demonstrated a new micro-fabricated adhesive based on the same physics mechanism that underlies the amazing climbing ability of geckos. The work is rated by experts as the first proof of concept of dry adhesives based on van der Waals interaction. The secret of how geckos are able to perform extraordinary climbing antics; researchers confirmed that tiny intermolecular forces - so called van der Waals forces - were produced by literally billions of tiny hair-like structures, or spatulae, on each gecko toe. These forces, which arise when unbalanced electrical charges around molecules attract one another, allow the animal to scurry up walls and even hang upside down on polished glass. They have fabricated arrays of plastic pillars that are little more than two thousandths of a millimetre tall; the spacing of the pillars is on a similar scale. They are attached to a flexible base that moves to bring the minute synthetic hairs into contact will all the small undulations that exist even on the smoothest of surfaces. Researchers have developed a super-sticky adhesive modeled on the gecko foot that grips even the slipperiest surfaces. Scholars have long marvelled at the superlative climbing abilities of gecko lizards. But only recently have scientists figured out how the creatures manage their gravity-defying feats. Nanotechnologist Andre K. Geim of the University of Manchester and his colleagues set out to create a novel type of adhesive mimicking the gecko's gripping mechanism. Their prototype - which consists of an array of microfabricated polyimide hairs attached to a flexible base - exhibits an adhesive force per hair that is comparable to that of a gecko foot-hair. And the flexible base ensures that as many hairs as possible come into contact with the substrate. Because the adhesive is dry, it can be attached and detached repeatedly.

Sample ID: 952


The University of Manchester
Wonder Stuff
Adhesive | Sticky | Tape | Gecko | van der Waals

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