Gecko’s have the uncanny ability in nature to stick to any type of surface and scurry away. At the University of Massachussets, Amherst, some researchers took their cue from the little amphibians (or maybe reptiles, I’m too tired to look it up), and designed an adhesive that could stick to almost any surface, any time, anywhere.
The adhesive is called geckskin and is an artificial polymer designed by combining soft elastomers with ultra-stiff fabrics such as glass fiber and carbon fiber to mimic the gecko’s draping adhesion capabilities. A gecko’s ability is due to its skin and bone structure. A combination of bone, tendon and skin creates a soft surface with an underlying rigidity so that the gecko is able to stick to any surface without the pre-requirement of a wet or sticky layer/residue being present. The interaction is that of Van der Waal’s forces being generated between the two surfaces.
The leader of this project, Professor Crosby tested their invention by conducting an experiment, sticking a flat screen television to all sort of surfaces with their adhesive geckskin, so far they’ve tried it on wood, painted walls, steel, concrete, marble and glass and their results have turned up positive.
The most novel thing about this invention is the fact that it retains its strength after multiple uses, unlike duct tape or plaster of paris that simply degrade over time very quickly. The material works best when the surface in question is reasonably smooth, rough surfaces do not bode will so it may be handy to keep a sander or a polisher with you when you buy geckskin.