UMass Invents “Geckskin”

geckskinHow cool would it be to climb walls like Spider-Man?! The seemingly impossible is now possible (well almost possible) thanks to researchers at UMass Amherst! The researchers studied the anatomy of geckos and discovered that the adhesive that allows geckos to climb walls without slipping or falling is strong enough to hold about nine pounds. How crazy is that? Just imagine a little itty-bitty gecko scaling a wall with a nine pound weight tied to it and it still doesn’t slip! That may be a bit of an exaggeration but hopefully you get the idea of how strong the adhesive skin is on a gecko’s feet. Plus, even though their adhesive skin is incredibly durable, geckos can still lift their feet off of a surface with ease, and these characteristics (which can be difficult to recreate) are what UMass researchers have succeeded in creating in the invention of the “Geckskin”. The Geckskin mimics the adhesive found on the feet of geckos, but can be very useful for humans as well. It consists of a synthetic tendon and a stiff fabric integrated with a soft woven pad made of a simple, inexpensive material called polydimethylsiloxane. The researchers believe that the gecko’s tendon in its foot plays a key factor in adhesiveness to a surface, which is why they have the synthetic tendon and the stiff fabric. The soft pad allows for more surface contact, meaning even stronger adhesive abilities. Surprisingly, an index-card sized piece of Geckskin can hold up to 700 pounds when used on a smooth wall! Plus, it can be taken off a wall with almost no effort at all. How neat is that??

-Kim Chittanon


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