Saturday, September 01, 2007

'Spider-man' suit secret revealed

From the BBC

A "Spider-man" suit that enables its wearer to scale vertical walls like the comic and movie superhero could one day be a reality, according to a study.

Natural technology used by spiders and geckos could help a human climb the side of a building or hang upside down from a roof, the analysis suggests.

The findings are published in the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.

Both spiders and geckos possess tiny "hairs" that allow them to stick to surfaces.
Some studies suggest that geckos can hold hundreds of times their own body weight

In 2002, US research suggested this adhesion in geckos was due to very weak intermolecular forces.
These are produced by billions of hair-like structures of different sizes that are arranged in a hierarchical structure on each gecko foot.

The intermolecular "van der Waals" forces arise when unbalanced electrical charges around molecules attract one another.

The cumulative attractive force of billions of gecko hairs allows the reptiles to scurry up walls and even hang upside down on polished glass.

To read the rest of the artilce follow this link:
Spider Man

Gecko glue exploits mussel power 18 Jul 07 Science/Nature
Geckos inspire 'super-adhesive' 26 Jul 06 Science/Nature

Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Polytechnic of Turin (Italian)

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