Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Super-sticky adhesive based on gecko technology

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The remarkable adhesive abilities of geckos and mussels have been combined to create a super-sticky material.

Unlike other adhesives inspired by the nimble reptiles, "geckel" can attach to both wet and dry surfaces, the team that developed the material says.

Its staying power comes from coating fibrous silicone, similar in structure to a gecko's foot, with a polymer that mimics the "glue" used by mussels.

Writing in Nature, the researchers say it could have medical applications.

"I envision that adhesive tapes made out of geckel could be used to replace sutures for wound closure, and may also be useful as a water-resistant adhesive for bandages and drug-delivery patches," said Professor Phillip Messersmith from Northwestern University in Chicago.

"Such a bandage would remain firmly attached to the skin during bathing but would permit easy removal upon healing."

Other research teams claim they have already produced a gecko-inspired material that works underwater. Link

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