20 June 2007

Teflon, defeated at last.

Ars Technica carries an excellent story about researchers working on replicating the stickiness of geckos. Paraphrasing the story, these folks have created carbon nanotubes mimicking the fibers on gecko feet that account for their ability to stick to pretty much any surface. Moving along in their research, they learned that actual gecko-feet fibers are arranged in interesting hierarchical arrays, so they tried to simulate this using the nanotubes. Quoting from Ars:

They experimented with creating various bundles of carbon nanotubes, and compared their adhesive properties with both unbundled nanotubes and live geckos (join me, if you will, in imagining the gecko harness involved...).

See, this is exactly why a certain type of little boy or girl goes into science in the first place -- to get grant money for things that, done as a kid, probably got them in trouble. As an added bonus, the bundled nanotubes do, indeed, stick to Teflon, though with only 50% strength.