Why Spider-Man can’t exist: Geckos are ‘size limit’ for sticking to walls

18 Jan 2016

Latest research reveals why geckos are the largest animals able to scale smooth vertical walls – even larger climbers would require unmanageably large sticky footpads. Scientists estimate that a human would need adhesive pads covering 40% of their body surface in order to walk up a wall like Spider-Man, and believe their insights have implications for the feasibility of large-scale, gecko-like adhesives.

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Cyphochilus beetle

The beetle’s white album

15 Aug 2014

The physical properties of the ultra-white scales on certain species of beetle could be used to make whiter paper, plastics and paints, while using far less material than is used in current manufacturing methods.

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How stick insects honed friction to grip without sticking

19 Feb 2014

Scientists have discovered that, when upright, stick insects don’t stick. Instead, they deploy special hairy pads designed to create huge amounts of friction from the tiniest of pressure increases - ensuring that the insects grip but don’t stick.

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Ants aquaplaning on a pitcher plant

19 Dec 2012

A Venezuelan pitcher plant uses wettable hairs to make insects slip into its deadly traps.

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