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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

Synthetic 'Squid Skin' For Camouflage On The Way
'The small, chameleon-clad figures continued to advance.'- Gordon R. Dickson, 1960.

Shape-Shifting Carbon Fiber
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'- Philip K. Dick, 1957.

'Diamond Nanothreads' Now, Someday Space Elevators?
'It is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.

Diamond Nanothreads For Space Elevators?
'Continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

DJI Phantom Drone Now With GPS Blocking
'Workarounds were illegal and the fines were expensive...'

OMOTE Face Hackers At Work Video
'...a video-manicuring program came on line.'

Vroom! Your Car Or Truck's Engine Noise Might Be Fake
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'

Care-O-Bot 4 Personal Service Robot
'Beside her moved a gleaming robant...'

Skin Wearable Harvests Power With Triboelectric Effect
'He had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action...'

EDSAP Wearable Stroke Detection
'His Altec cephalochromoscope, around which he had built the pleasure part of his schedule...'

Brand Killer Helmet Blocks Real-Life Ads
'Some merely held the holos [ads] at arm's length.'

In Vivo Micromotors Powered By Stomach Acid
First in vivo study of artificial micromotors.

Synthetic 'Squid Skin' For Camouflage On The Way
'The small, chameleon-clad figures continued to advance.'

3D Printer 'Teleports' Objects Like Simak's Way Stations
'An entirely new being but exactly like the old one'

Laser Etching Makes Metal Super-Hydrophobic
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension.'

Patient Walks Out With Fully Artificial Heart
'The throb of the robot pump gave him confidence...'

Radisens' Gemini Instant Blood Tests
An amazing lab-on-a-panel.

Nonhuman Artist Collective Keeps Robot Artist Earnings Until Legal
Pay the artists!

Argentine Orangutan Receives Basic Human Rights
'They wouldn't dare let the Fuzzies be proven sapient...'

Elon Musk, Google To Extend Internet Into Earth Orbit, Then Mars
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.