Building upon several years of research into the gecko's uncanny ability to climb sheer walls, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley writing in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface have developed an adhesive that is the first to master the easy attach and easy release of the reptile's padded feet. The material could prove useful for a range of products, from climbing equipment to medical devices.
Unlike duct tape or glue, the new material is crafted from millions of tiny, hard, plastic fibers that establish grip; a mere square two centimeters on a side can support 400 grams (close to a pound). While tape sticks when it presses onto a surface, the new adhesive sticks as it slides on a surface and releases as it lifts -- this is the trick behind a gecko's speedy vertical escapes.
There are other synthetic adhesives inspired by gecko feet and they adhere much like conventional tape. In contrast, the new adhesive brushes along a surface to develop traction. While ideal for hanging posters, the characteristic is even more important for any application that requires movement, such as climbing.
How cool is that???
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