Climbing robots, bioadhesives and other sticky substances could benefit greatly from a recent discovery, made by a researcher at the University of Akron and colleagues, about the self-cleaning and reuse abilities of gecko leg hair. His work has recently been published in the magazine Interface, of the Royal Society.
The discovery is related to the gecko's toe pad and its ability to repeatedly stick and peel off a surface.
The researchers discovered that the key to the dynamics of the microscopic hair self-cleaning mechanism present in the gecko's toes is in the hyperextension of its toes. “Analysis reveals that geckos have small, sticky hairs on their toes called mushrooms and, that due to the mechanism of adhesion and detachment caused by the rolling and stretching movement of the toes when walking, they release the dirt particles, leaving the feet clean, ”says Shihao Hu, a mechanical engineering student from the UA. "The dynamic hyperextension effect of the natural skin on your toes increases the cleaning speed to almost twice the previously perceived speed."
The findings, published in the article, "Dynamic Self-Cleaning in Gecko Setae via Digital Hyperextension", show that a gecko-inspired adhesive could work in conditions where traditional adhesives would not work, and may inspire new applications in tooling. exploration of space or water, or on common objects such as tape or other products with adhesive properties.
Source: http://www.nanomagazine.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1751:gecko-inspired-adhesive-can-function-under-conditions-where-traditional-adhesives-do-not&catid= 38: nano-news & Itemid = 159