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In 1941 Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral had returned home from a hunting trip in the alps with his dog when he noticed that the seeds of burdock plants kept sticking to both his dog and clothes. On closer inspection, Mestral found that microscopic hooks on the seeds were getting caught in loops on his clothes and dog’s fur. With this simple observation, Velcro was invented: tiny polymer hooks which, when pressed against thousands of tiny loops, interlock to form a solid bond that can be pulled apart, causing the characteristic tearing sound.

Such is the usefulness of Velcro that it is used in everything from astronaut space suits to shoe lace replacement. It is even credited with the creation of the new past-time “Velcro jumping, in which people wearing whole suits of the “hook” parts of Velcro throw themselves at a “loop” wall, in an attempt to see who can attach themselves the highest. Velcro, then, is another fine example in the Materials Library of an idea inspired by nature which has been adapted to human needs - and there can be little doubt of the impact that it has had on human society.

Sample ID: 196


Inspired by nature | Joining | Nature

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