The gecko "copiers"

On the trail of nature's sticking and sticking tricks

The gecko: secret agent in matters of adhesion MMCD
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Geckos cling to vertical walls, flies hang upside down on the ceiling - nature has produced an enormous variety of biological adhesive and adhesive constructions whose sophistication triggers astonishment: Because they are above all one thing: Ingeniously simple and effective at maximum energy and material utilization.

What could be more obvious than to take these constructions as a model? After all, they are the result of millions of years of the "optimization process" of evolution. Bionics, a science at the interface between technology and biology, does just that. As cross-border commuters between the disciplines, the scientists are doing research on the laws behind the constructions of nature and try to transfer these into technology and materials research.

This is precisely what the materials scientists and biologists at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart are working on. They want to clarify how micromechanical concepts, theories and methods can be applied to biological phenomena. Amongst other things, the researchers around Eduard Arzt have specialized in nature's detention and sticking tricks. Their study objects are mainly insects that have a variety of very different adhesive systems, but also vertebrates such as gecko.

The researchers want to know how the biological adhesive, friction and Verklammerungssysteme work that only a few micro- to nanometers in size, but the entire animal run upright against a wall or hold upside down on the ceiling. Their biggest challenge is to make the object of investigation at this scale even experimental.

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Nadja Podbregar
As of: 23.03.2007 Display