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13/04/12

“geckskin” the adhesive of the future?

For a number of years, the scientific community has been looking closely at the physical characteristics that endow the feet of the small lizard known as a gecko with extraordinary adhesive properties. Researchers at the University of  Massachusetts have now developed Geckskin, a powerful adhesive tape conceived on the basis of this research.
The feet of a 140-gram gecko allow it to support up to 4 kilograms before it falls away from the vertical surfaces to which it is stuck, i.e. more than 28 times its own weight!
Contrary to the belief of researchers until now, it is not the millions of microscopic hairs on the soles of the gecko’s feet that give it its incredible adhesive capacity, but the interaction of these little hairs with the skin, the tendons and the bones. It is due to this discovery that polymer scientists and biologists have been able to create “Geckskin”, an adhesive only 40 cm2  of which stuck to a smooth vertical surface is capable of supporting no less than 317 kg! Geckskin is principally composed of a very common polymer called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), encouraging for the development of this powerful, reversible, durable and relatively inexpensive adhesive. Attaching a television, a computer or even medical or industrial equipment to a wall and then “unsticking” it without leaving any residue would become mere child’s play.
What is more, GeckSkin can easily be removed from the surface to which it has been attached and reused many times.

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