Press Release 05-140
Carbon Nanotubes Made to Stick Like a Gecko's Foot
August 15, 2005
Renowned for their ability to walk up walls like miniature Spider-Men--or even to hang from the ceiling by one toe--the colorful lizards of the gecko family owe their wall-crawling prowess to their remarkable footpads. Each five-toed foot is covered with microscopic elastic hairs called setae, which are themselves split at the ends to form a forest of nanoscale fibers known as spatulas. So when a gecko steps on almost anything, these nano-hairs make such extremely close contact with the surface that they form intermolecular bonds, thus holding the foot in place.
Now, polymer scientist Ali Dhinojwala of the University of Akron and his colleagues have shown how to create a densely packed carpet of carbon nanotubes that functions like an artificial gecko foot--but with 200 times the gecko foot's gripping power. Potential applications include dry adhesives for microelectronics, information technology, robotics, space and many other fields.
The group's work was funded by the National Science Foundation, and is reported in a recent issue of the journal Chemical Communications.
For more information, see the University of Akron news release.
M. Mitchell Waldrop, NSF, (703) 292-7752, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Torisky, University of Akron, (330) 972-7299, email@example.com
Ali Dhinojwala, University of Akron, (330) 972-6246, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dhinojwala Research Group Web-Page: http://tinyurl.com/8reyo
The University of Akron news release: http://www.uakron.edu/news/articles/uamain_1293.php
Chemical Communications paper: http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/CC/article.asp?doi=b506047h
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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