Friday, May 16, 2003

New materials watch

New Scientist reports: "The hairs on a gecko's feet - called setae - are the key to its remarkable grip on just about any surface, rough or smooth, wet or dry. The tips of the setae are so sticky that geckos can hang from a ceiling with their entire weight suspended from a single toe. Now an engineer called Metin Sitti at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh ... has created some polymer-based setae. They are not yet strong enough to hold an adult human on a ceiling, but they are slowly getting there. Right now, Sitti says, they can stick things weighing a few kilograms to a ceiling, but the synthetic gecko hairs are still being improved." (I posted on earlier research in this area some time ago.)

Hmm. Biomimicry. And for some of the best in materials research, see the Nature Materials Journal.

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