UMass Amherst Researchers Create Super-Adhesive Material Based on Gecko Feet
February 17, 2012 10:46 AM
comment(s) - last by
Feet so sticky even dead geckos still hang around
A 16-inch square holds 700 pounds on a vertical surface
For many people, the only time thoughts of geckos come to mind is likely when a commercial for a certain insurance company comes on TV. Geckos have feet that would allow the tiny little 5-ounce lizard haul 9 pounds straight up flat wall, assuming the lizard was buff enough. That is a major amount of adhesive force generated from a tiny surface.
A study of the gecko and its amazingly sticky feet has led the team of polymer scientists and biologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to invent material called Geckskin. The Geckskin material is able to hold 700 pounds on a smooth wall. The research team included doctoral candidate Michael Bartlett, and biologists Duncan Irschick. Irschick has studied the gecko and its ability to cling to surfaces for over two decades. The gecko in the wild is able to climb vertical, slanted, and surfaces that are backwards tilted with no problem.
"Amazingly, gecko feet can be applied and disengaged with ease, and with no sticky residue remaining on the surface," Irschick says. These properties, high-capacity, reversibility and dry adhesion offer a tantalizing possibility for synthetic materials that can easily attach and detach heavy everyday objects such as televisions or computers to walls, as well as medical and industrial applications, among others, he and Crosby say.
The Geckskin device that the group of researchers created is 16-inches square being roughly the size of an index card. Crosby says, "Our Geckskin device is about 16 inches square, about the size of an index card, and can hold a maximum force of about 700 pounds while adhering to a smooth surface such as glass."
Despite the fact that the 16-inch square can hold 700 pounds on a surface as smooth as glass, it can be released with little effort and reused many times with no loss of effectiveness. Once removed, the Geckskin also leaves behind no residue. The team says that you could use the Geckskin to hold a 42-inch flatscreen TV to your wall and be able to release that TV with a simple tug and then stick it back on the surface repeatedly.
Prior attempts to re-create the sticky gecko feet focused on microscopic hairs on the toes of the gecko called setae. Those previous attempts failed to re-create sticking power of the gecko foot. The group the researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have been able to use a "simple and elegant" method to recreate sticking power.
"It’s a concept that has not been considered in other design strategies and one that may open up new research avenues in gecko-like adhesion in the future," said Crosby.
The research team says one of the key innovations was the ability to create an adhesive with a soft pad that is woven into a stiff fabric. That design allows the product to drape over a surface for maximum contact while maintaining the stiffness and rotational freedom needed. The researchers are working on improving the material now.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
2/17/2012 12:03:38 PM
I am not sure they mean 16 inches square, as said and then repeated in this article. 16 inches square means 16 inches on each side. But then it was described as the size of an index card. That is a mighty large index card. How about 16 square inches? That is 4 inches to a side, or 16 sqauare inches. That also is not the size of an index card, being a bit smaller in surface area, but closer than the 256 square inches they are saying the patch is.
RE: sticky square
2/17/2012 1:22:15 PM
Just wanted to let you know that it does indeed mean 4 x 4 inch square (16 square inches).
If you're on a university network, you can read the full paper here:
RE: sticky square
2/17/2012 3:18:45 PM
The average index card is 3x5... which is 15 square inches.... That's a difference of less than an 1/8th of an inch on each dimension. Were you thinking business card, maybe?
"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft Band 2 Stays Focused on Fitness, Debuts Oct. 30, Priced at $249
October 6, 2015, 9:16 PM
Microsoft's HD-500 ("Display Dock"), the Magic Sauce Behind Continuum
October 6, 2015, 5:30 PM
Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL Finally Launch, w/ Windows 10, Liquid Cooling
October 6, 2015, 3:35 PM
Legere Blasts Microsoft for "Bull***t" Snub of T-Mobile and Verizon
October 9, 2015, 3:02 PM
Apple's First Fixes to iOS 9 Land w/ iOS 9.0.1 Release
September 23, 2015, 6:11 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information