Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

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 ")

MIT Self-Assembling Reprogrammable Materials
'Faster the cubes moved; faster the circle revolved; the pyramids raised themselves, stood bolt upright on their square bases...' - Abraham Merritt, 1920.

Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!' - Gene Roddenberry, 1968.

Polyaramide Is Stronger Than Steel, Light As Plastic
'... harnessed by aludur straps' - Leo Zagat, 1943.

Trinitite, Pentagrams And Isaac Asimov
'...And there were horns.' - Isaac Asimov, 1956.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Jetson-Style Clockwork Robot Nail Salon Coming To Target Near You
The Jetsons imagined so much future.

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'

Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'

Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
'Jimmy Cardigan and Harlowe, staring through the darkside port, had their feet in the foot-loops...'

Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
'But the rising sign, as it had been designed to do, held his eyes. A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry
'A lightning pilot possibly could land that tin toy without power and still walk away from it provided he had the skill to play Skip-to-M’Lou in and out of the atmosphere...'

MarsCat and MetaCat, Your Robot Cat Companions
'It was you who betrayed me — you and your robot cat.'

Mars Mission Using Nuclear Thermal Propulsion
'with its atomic engine as noiseless as a dancing sunbeam...'

Physiotherapists Get Help From Robots
'Most of the Members went into cold-rest; the others tended them...'

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.