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Artificial Gecko Adhesive, Now In Experimental Glue 102

Posted by timothy
from the will-arrive-one-day-before-singularity dept.
thefickler writes "Scientists at the University of Dayton have created a peel-on, peel-off glue which mimics the wall-climbing abilities of Spiderman. The substance, based on the feet of the Gecko lizard, is three times stickier than existing adhesives. The material is so strong that a 4×4mm pad would be enough to hold a 1.5kg object such as a hardcover book. However, it's likely too expensive for consumer use: one British scientist calculates that a single Post-it note using the glue would cost around a thousand dollars." We've mentioned the possibilities of synthetic gecko technology several times before, including as applied in this wall-climbing robot; commercial applications have seemed just around the corner for a while now.
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Artificial Gecko Adhesive, Now In Experimental Glue

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  • Hopefully, that English nature show presenter who follows the GEICO gekko [adgabber.com] around will begin using this stuff so he doesn't fall off RVs, dumpsters, etc., while he's trying to spy on his quarry.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by dgatwood (11270)

      Hi. I'm a gecko, not to be confused with Geiko, who can save you 15% or more on car insurance. This sick bastard has been chasing me all week telling me he wants to turn my feet into glue. I keep trying to tell him that the glue is made out of Geico feet, but he just won't believe me. Will you please STOP FOLLOWING ME!!?!

      [He steps into a loop of rope, followed by the screen going black and showing a Geico logo as we hear the sound of a gecko going airborne.]

  • How do you "peel-on"?
  • Gekko? (Score:1, Redundant)

    But does it save you 15% on your car insurance?
  • So its just like those 3M sticky hooks you can stick to your wall, hang some reasonably heavy stuff on them, then pull downwards on a tab attached to the sticky part and they come back off the wall no problem... But stronger.

    Color me unimpressed. Can someone get me excited about new problems this address?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Microlith (54737)

      they come back off the wall no problem

      Last time I pulled one of those off the wall it came off no problem. Along with the paint and wallboard behind it!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bluefoxlucid (723572)
      Well, for the same surface area, these will hang some decidedly unreasonably heavy stuff. 2x2 millimeters holds 1.5kg ... 4.5 x 4.5 will hold more than my weight. A square inch will hold 241.9kg, or over 500 pounds!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sexconker (1179573)

        TFS says a 4x4 mm pad holds 1.5 kg.

        Someone is wrong (probably TFS, since it implies failure on ther part of the editors).

        How can 4.5x4.5 mm hold more than 160 times the eight of 2x2 mm when it's just 5 times the surface area?

        • Read TFA. It's 4x4, not 2x2. I don't know where you get the other figure from. So silly.

        • If 4mm x 4mm holds 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) for a surface area of 16mm^2, then to hold say 200 lbs you would need a surface area 60.6 times greater. 60.6 x 16 mm^2 = 0.9696 m. So with about 1 m^2 of this material you could climb like Spiderman.

          We've mentioned the possibilities of synthetic gecko technology several times before, including as applied in this wall-climbing robot;

          I say screw the robots, I want to be able to climb up walls and ceilings myself!

          • by quadrox (1174915)
            your math is wrong too, I'm afraid. The square root of 969 mm is 31 mm. That means that you would need 3.1 x 3.1 square centimeters to hold up a typical male human body. Which translates to roughly a 1.5 square inches.
            • by ben2umbc (1090351)
              And thats even better, and far cheaper. I hope it will be available in the fabric isle at a walmart near you soon!
        • My error. It's 4x4, not 4 square mm. Double my dimensions and quadruple my areas (my dimensions are for a quadrant).
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)

        A square inch will hold 241.9kg, or over 500 pounds!

        Wow, I've been looking for a solution to sticking the really big steel workers to the underside of wide flange beams by their hardhats! Superglue only holds so much.

        • Welding the hard hat directly to the beam works so much better.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by HTH NE1 (675604)

            Welding the hard hat directly to the beam works so much better.

            Actually, not. The hat tends to melt. And I'd rather not have to weld channels to the flange to cradle the lip of the helmet either. Bolting is right out, too: it needs to have minimal impact to the structural integrity of the beam.

      • by mweather (1089505)
        They tried a weaker version of this (hairs so big they were visible to the naked eye) the size of a piece of notebook paper, and it held the researchers young daughter just fine. The same piece with this new nanoscale stuff would hold a car.
    • was that you can apply it and remove it as many times as you like. Removing it doesn't damage the tape. It is more like a velcro than a glue.

    • by mweather (1089505)
      Sort of like that, but these stick with magnetism, not adhesives, so they never loose their stickyness, and it doesn't bond well with itself.
    • Prespective (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How many of those hooks does it take to hang an M1 Abram [wikipedia.org]?

      Tape Characteristics:
      Area: 4mm^2
      Weight It Holds: 1.5kg

      Tape holds: 533.3 lbs/in^2 [google.com]

      M1 Abram Tank Characteristics:
      Weight: 135200 lbs

      Amount of tape needed: 1.76 ft^2 [google.com]

  • by penguin_dance (536599) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:00PM (#25333115)

    They mention the cost, but surely that will come down. Anything breakthrough like that is going to be expensive to create until the figure out a way to mass produce it.

    I wonder, however, the type of strength you'd have to have to actually "do a Spiderman" up the building. Yes it will hold you to the building, but you'll still have to have the upper body strength to advance your way up without handholds to help if it's a flat surface.

    Sci-Fi fun aside, there will no doubt be a lot of uses for this product. And a few years down the road we will have infomercial guru, Billy Mays [wikipedia.org] shouting at us to try new and improved "Gecko Glue" to hang pictures and fix broken mugs. :)

    • The price will surely come down - and I expect that it will deflate much as computer and electronic technology has.

      I am eager to see the data on this as it will surely spawn the creation of a Moore's-law type formula for nanotech.

      Buy your nanotech stocks, some are less than $1 usd per share right now! - they won't stay that cheap forever.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pluther (647209)

      You wouldn't need to rely on upper body strength alone if you also have the stuff on your feet. That lets you use your leg muscles as well.

      Even with the proportional strength of a spider, Mr. Parker usually uses his feet when wall-crawling.

      • by VValdo (10446) on Friday October 10, 2008 @07:04PM (#25333721)

        You wouldn't need to rely on upper body strength alone if you also have the stuff on your feet. That lets you use your leg muscles as well.

        My question-- do the outer layers of skin on my fingers/toes have the adhesive properties to the inner-layers of skin or will I fall 30 stories leaving finger-skin behind? Also, how much building-dust and pollution accumulates to the adhesive, and how quickly?

        I really need to know this before I try.

        W

        PS- are web shooters included?

        • I doubt this is anything you'd want to put on your skin. I'm assuming it would go on gloves/shoes. My only question is, if it can hold so much weight, how can it peel off?

        • by vivian (156520)

          Since the stuff is conductive, it might be possible to 'clean' it of particles by applying a charge to it - hopefully that would transfer charge to the dust/pollution particles on the ends of the hairs and make them repel off? can any physics types confirm if th is would work?

        • by MeepMeep (111932)

          PS- are web shooters included?

          You only get one but you're not gonna like where you have to shoot it from...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mortonda (5175)

        Have you ever climbed up a 80 ft ladder? It takes some serious strength to do that quickly - my arms and legs were shaking when I got to the top of the water tower. Great view though. Too bad we never did get the wifi contract. :(

        • Last time I had to climb 500 ft to change a lightbulb on the college radio tower, it took about an hour, and it was EXACTLY like being on a stairmaster. One of the first tips I got on that job was never grab the next rung - always grab the vertical side of the ladder. Reason: the protective paint on the ladder could/would develop pinholes and rust would eat through the rung, but it would appear fine to a visual inspection. If I ran into that, it wouldn't matter if I DID have a grip that Superman couldn't br

      • Yes, I took that into account, but you can't use the flat part of your feet, you'd have to put the adhesive on the tips of the toes (of the shoes) and even then--how easy would that be without footholds as well as hand holds? Face it, man is not made for climbing like a chimpanzee, much less a gecko! Our legs are too long and our feet don't bend the right way to do this easily--at least not on a flat surface.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905)
          Obvious: add pads just below the knees.

          Bend to peel off.
        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          I expect you could get about as much surface area on your feet as you would get on a small hold on a climbing wall. You'd have a lot more area on you hands, because you could stick them flat to the wall.

    • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Friday October 10, 2008 @07:14PM (#25333833) Homepage

      I wonder, however, the type of strength you'd have to have to actually "do a Spiderman" up the building. Yes it will hold you to the building, but you'll still have to have the upper body strength to advance your way up without handholds to help if it's a flat surface.

      The other big thing to think about is what are you adhering to ? This might work if you were climbing up something like clean metal or marble, but most will be much lower quality. Many surfaces if you pull too hard on them will disintegrate and the top layer will detach, so you will just end up falling off the sky scraper with a thin layer of brick or paint on your hands.

    • I wonder, however, the type of strength you'd have to have to actually "do a Spiderman" up the building. Yes it will hold you to the building, but you'll still have to have the upper body strength to advance your way up without handholds to help if it's a flat surface.

      Isn't that what handholds are used for? Holding you to the surface you're climbing? If anything, climbing with this stuff should be less of a strain than with handholds - you don't have to wear your arms out gripping things, you are securely held in place without having to reach for holds in difficult positions and you can put some of the stuff on your feet and maybe knees to let you use the much stronger leg muscles to make your way up.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        I would think the problem would be unsticking yourself to move. If you've got roughly equal surface area on your hands and feet, and you need a bit extra for safety, each hand or foot has to hold a bit more than a quarter of your body weight. That's a decent pull you'd have to give each limb, for each move.

    • by b4upoo (166390)

      Have you tried some of the new nano tube glues? They are expensive and you had better need the entire bottle as it turns into a rock upon being opened no matter how hard you try to seal the tube. In other words it is not only how well a glue sticks but how easy it is to use. I recently tried another high tech glue which sort of bubbles and oozes out of a joint even when applied lightly. It makes a yellow stain wherever it touches. It is useless.

  • I don't really care how "super" the glue may be.

    The cover of the book may not be strong enough such that after sticking the book to 4x4mm patch, the book just falls off. The book will be on the floor with a ~4x4mm scar. The cover just isn't strong enough to defy gravity on a mere 4x4mm of glue.

    A "spiderman" scenario suffers from the same complications. Except we're talking scarred fingertips. Ewww!

  • Watch next years' Department of Defense budget...it'll be a line item called "Military-Grade Reusable Adhesive Note-Taking Device".
  • The Spiderman "application" may be useful for explaining the general function of the glue, but I wonder how it would fare in actual building-scaling. The fact that one only needs change the angle of the glue application area to detach it makes it seem too unreliable to use for holding up objects. I'd much rather be held 100 feet in the air by a cable than by a square inch of an adhesive (and in fact, I'd rather not be held in the air at all). This is just my intuition, of course, and not carefully researche
  • by philspear (1142299) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:29PM (#25333349)

    I am so glad they came up with a new gecko adhesive. I haven't had good results nailing my geckos down, they eat the tape, and the natural gecko adhesive just doesn't cut it.

  • by Instine (963303)
    Why would I want to stick something to an artificial gecko? Or am I not getting this...
  • I read TFA.
    It's nano-velcro.

  • The Science Channel has a very good example of how they replicate the gecko adhesiveness. http://science.discovery.com/video/weird-connections.html?playerId=1803212346&titleId=1805366122 [discovery.com]
  • Gecko glue? Isn't that what Firefox does, bind Gecko to the user? Oh, wait, wrong gecko. . .
  • Now I can stop stapling actual geckos to stuff to attach them to my walls.
  • Space Shuttle fix? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Friday October 10, 2008 @08:52PM (#25334939)

    This sounds like a perfect solution for adhering the tiles to the outside of the space shuttle, provided it can withstand the heat. Considering the glue would be on the back of the insulating tiles, does that mean the temperatures would be tolerable enough for it to work?

    2 cents

    • by Fittysix (191672)

      To my knowledge, it's not adhering the tiles that's so difficult, it's the fact that the tiles are very fragile, and tend to break chunks off themselves (likely leaving the adhesive behind)

  • That's odd (Score:3, Funny)

    by AdamWill (604569) on Friday October 10, 2008 @11:56PM (#25336321) Homepage

    Reading only the title - as is traditional around here - why would I want an adhesive which only adheres to geckos?

Hacking's just another word for nothing left to kludge.

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