Monday, December 11, 2006

Sticky material to scale new heights

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Climbing up walls like Spider-Man might not just be the stuff of comic books if a new material continues its successful development.

A team at a British aerospace and defense company have created a re-usable adhesive material that can stick to any surface, a small piece of which could easily support the weight of a small family car.

The team at BAE Systems Advanced Technology Center, led by Dr. Jeffrey Sargent and Dr. Sajad Haq, have been inspired by the gecko lizard and its ability to walk up walls and across ceilings.

Their "Synthetic Gecko" material mimics the microscopic hairs on a gecko's foot. Its potential as a reusable super-strong adhesive material could be applied across a number of areas.

"As well as the engineering potential of our product we realize there is a huge scope for its commercial and even medical application," Dr. Jeffery Sargent told CNN.

It's not the first time that material has been produced that has tried to copy geckos' climbing feats. Scientists at the University of California discovered the secrets of the lizard's seemingly gravity-defying ability in 2000.

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