Sticking a frog foot on it, described in ABC News in Science, 12 October 2007.
Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur have developed a reusable adhesive tape inspired by frog feet. Conventional sticky tapes are not reusable because they crack when removed from one surface, and they collect dust and other particles and inevitably lose their stickiness.
Animangsu Ghatak and his colleagues noted that frogs and lizards have feet that stick and un-stick all the time. The researchers studied the toe pads of tree frogs, and they found a fine pattern of overlaying numerous tiny channels containing glands, fluid filled vessels and blood vessels. The researchers then made an adhesive tape consisting of a soft elastic material containing microscopic channels filled with air and oil. The result was a highly adhesive material that could be removed without any residue.
Ghatak explained: “Because of the capillary pressure, the adhesion stress increased by 30 times. One application is for stickers on utensils, fruit, where you want to remove them cleanly, you don’t want the adhesive to remain on them, which is annoying,”
Editorial Comment: This is one more of a rapidly growing number of inventions that are directly inspired by studying some biological structure. Next time you are frustrated because you can’t get some sticky tape off cleanly, think of the tree frog’s foot and give thanks to the Creator Who made the whole frog without having to copy any of it from someone else.
Evidence News 23 April 2008
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