While spiders and lizards easily crawl up the walls and ceilings, humans are not equipped with such skill. Of course, our favourite superhero Spider-Man is an exception.
But, what if someone tells you that you'll soon be able to fulfil your childhood dream of becoming like him? Recently, scientists revealed that just like lizards and spiders we'll be able to easily climb up walls and crawl along ceilings because they have found a dry adhesive that will help us to defy gravity.
Researchers at Singapore University of Technology and Design manufactured dry adhesive that has properties similar to the toe pads of gecko — a kind of a lizard, that helps it to climb up wall and ceilings easily.
In a report published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, it was noted that the adhesive was inspired by geckos. Their unique toe pads help them to quickly attach and detach from surfaces.
They have unique bristle-like layers of a stiff material known as keratin on the toe pad, helping them to stick to the surfaces.
Each of their pads is then covered with microscopic pillars which branches out at the tips into even smaller structures.
Following the properties and structure, scientists made dry adhesives but they were not as sticky as gecko toes. Moreover, the problem was the first layer was getting damaged after the successive ones were applied.
Hemant Kumar Raut, Hong Yee Low and other researchers in the team wanted to create an ultra-sticky dry adhesive that's simple to fabricate in large batches.
So, they made the dry adhesive with stiff polycarbonate using a nano-imprinting technique to build web-like layers. To prevent the first layer damage, the research team used a sacrificial layer which dissolves away after the second layer is applied.
After repetitive attachment and detachment tests, they found that there was only 20 percent decline in the stickiness.
Researchers compared their film's adhesion to that of a gecko. They even tested the adhesive film by placing it on the feet of a miniature robot. It was successful in moving with ease up a 30-degree incline.