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Scientists Discover the Forces that Give the Gecko its Strong Adhesive Properties To better understand the adhesive properties of the gecko scientists have discovered new data that explains how the gecko can attach itself to almost any surface They specifically studied the Tokay gecko Gekko gecko Researchers at the University of Berkley have been working on discovering how the gecko can walk on almost any surface without falling off or leaving any residue This research has yielded new data that has given researchers new ideas about adhesive technology The researchers had to design special micro-instruments to measure the extremely small forces perpetuated by the small hairs or setae on the geckos feet They found that at the end of these setae there are small pads or spatulae Geckos can have anywhere between hundreds to thousands of these setae on each foot The data gathered indicated that the forces responsible for the geckos adhesive properties were Van der Waals forces By definition Van der Waals forces occur when two surfaces become extremely close to one another so that their respective electronegativity causes them to bind with a great amount of strength The spatulae can get extremely close to the surfaces upon which geckos walk and this allows the Van der Waals forces to hold with an exponential amount of energy Being stuck to the surface has not been the root of the problem It was more important to the researchers to find out how the gecko can get free of the Van der Waals forces so quickly They reported that geckos adhere and remove these forces up to 15 times a second It was discovered that the gecko uses a special technique of peeling its feet off at approximately a 30 degree angle with each step This new discovery gives scientists hope for developing new technology in powerful adhesion without residue
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