Arachnid Adhesion: The Sticky Feet Of Spiders
How do spiders walk straight up - even upside down - on any kind of surface? Scientists from Germany and Switzerland used a scanning electron microscope to find out how they do it - and how humans might make sticky things stickier.
This is the first time anyone has actually measured how spiders stick to surfaces; a scanning electron microscope was used to make images of the foot of the spider (see below).
(From Spiders Make Best Ever Post-it Notes)
Spiders have over 600,000 tiny hairs called setules on the bottom of their feet. The secret of spider stickiness (or arachnid adhesion) is that the molecules of the flexible, triangular contact tips of the hairs (see below) are set down so close to the molecules of the surface that van der Waals forces come into play. The van der Waals force is an electrostatic force that acts between two molecules that are very close - within one nanometer.
(From Spiders Make Best Ever Post-it Notes)
The adhesive force of each setule is tiny - but the 600,000 setules generate a force sufficient to hold 170 spiders in place. And, most importantly, it works with any surface, smooth or rough - even wet surfaces. The spider is capable of movement because it releases the setules a few at a time, peeling the foot off the surface.
In William Gibson's 1999 novel All Tomorrow's Parties, urban stores had wall coverings that were self-cleaning. Graffitti seldom lasted more than a few minutes. Naturally, this created the need for smart tags that were so sticky that even self-cleaning walls couldn't take them off.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/27/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
How To Encode The 'Memory' Of Materials
'Just jar it, and it falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.' - Samuel R. Delany, 1966.
Surface Film Repels All Bacteria
'Most gentlemen's and ladies' gloves nowadays were constructed of infinitesimal fabricules that knew how to eject dirt...'- Neal Stephenson, 1995
Frictionless Toilet Could Save 140 Billion Liters Of Water
'The bowl was a frictionless surface...' Niven and Pournelle, 1974.
Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).
Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'
Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'
Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'
The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'
Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'
Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'
Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'
NASA's Electric Motor Scooter
'...all the [lunar] prospectors took bicycles along as a matter of course'
Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.'
Students Surveilled By School Phone Apps
Cheer up, students. '...cracking my SchoolBook had been easy.'
Massage Robot Has Soft Hands, Er, Pads
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.'
Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'
Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories