The authors of the new study studied the properties of spider legs: insects can move on any surface without sliding. They want to use the same mechanism for ultra-strong glue, which can be removed if desired.
The legs of a spider of the species Cupiennius salei consist of almost 2,400 tiny hairs one hundredth of a millimeter thick. The authors collected samples of these hairs and then measured how well and firmly they adhered to a variety of rough and smooth surfaces, including glass. They also looked at how well the hairs perform at different angles of interaction.
When we started our experiments, we expected to find a certain angle for the best adhesion and similar adhesive properties for all individual hairs on the spider’s legs. Surprisingly, however, these adhesion forces varied significantly between individual hairs, for example, one hair adhered best to the surface at a low angle while the other was perpendicular.
Clemens Chabert, Ph.D. from the University of Keele in Germany.
Adhesion is the adhesion of surfaces of dissimilar solids and/or liquids.
However, each spider hair exhibited unique adhesive properties. Next, the authors observed the hairs under a powerful microscope and found that each of them has different and previously unrecognized structures. The team believes that this is how spiders can climb so many types of surfaces.
However, the authors believe that not all hairs are unique and that clusters or repeating patterns will be found.
The new work is aimed at creating a unique kind of adhesive that will also bond strongly to the object and allow it to be disconnected if necessary.