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
Size and mating surface
2/18/2012 2:55:54 AM
I guess most readers understood that the writer who was condensing the report into article length simply didn't understand the conventional difference between "16 square inches"
(area of a square 4 inches on a side)
and "16 inches square"
(resulting in an area of 256 square inches)
The clue, of course, was
"about the size of an index card."
My curiosity is aroused by whether there is any requirement or the regularity or lack of irregularity of the mating surface to which the product will "cling" - does the surface need to be planar and relatively smooth or is the material flexible enough to adhere to a rough, curvilinear surface (like a tree trunk?) or a fuzzy surface (like a carpet or tapestry on a vertical wall?)
RE: Size and mating surface
2/18/2012 3:00:55 AM
I noticed my typo:
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
EQ-Radio: A New Device for Wirelessly Detecting Emotions
September 26, 2016, 5:00 AM
Are you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
FDA Cleared, Shockwave Lithoplasty for Peripheral Vascular Disease
September 22, 2016, 5:45 AM
UN Meeting to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
September 21, 2016, 9:52 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Most Popular Articles
5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Laptop or Tablet - Which Do You Prefer?
September 20, 2016, 6:32 AM
Update: Samsung Exchange Program Now in Progress
September 20, 2016, 5:30 AM
Smartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Who is in Risk of Getting Oral Cancer?
Sep 23, 2016, 6:02 AM
France Bans Plastic Eating Utensils in Restaurants
Sep 18, 2016, 10:49 AM
Progress Against Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Sep 17, 2016, 5:30 AM
Apple Watch Series 2 - Number 1 in the Customer Satisfaction.
Sep 7, 2016, 6:19 PM
First Self-Driving Car debut on the streets of Singapore
Aug 28, 2016, 4:10 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information