Researchers at the Oregon State University (OSU) carried a study to better understand the adhesive feet of Geckos, lizards belonging to the infraorder Gekkota.
The instant sticking and unsticking feature of the Gecko feet have been of great interest to scientists and engineers.
OSU researchers carried a study to explore the intricacy of adhesion system mechanism Geckos.
Study author Alex Greaney, an assistant professor of engineering at OSU, said, “Since the time of the ancient Greeks, people have wondered how geckos are able to stick to walls. Even Archimedes is known to have pondered this problem.”
Geckos have the ability to turn the stickiness of the toe hairs on their feet on and off. This allows these lizards to run at greater pace after clinging to ceilings without exhausting much energy.
According to the researchers, it was found that these reptiles depend on van der Waals forces to move and achieve their target.
“In 2000, Kellar Autumn and colleagues established unequivocally that geckos stick using van der Waals forces,” Greaney said.
Van der Waals forces are weak forces between molecules. But these small forces matter a lot to geckos which derive best benefits out of them due to a significant system of branched hairs on their toes, called ‘seta’.
Each tiny hair produces van der Waals forces while the geckos are interacting to a surface, researchers explain.
“These seta can deform to make intimate contact with even very rough surfaces, resulting in millions of contact points that each are able to carry a small load,” Greaney said.
The setae are responsible for turning the stickiness on and off and move effortlessly.
The research work was published in the Journal of Applied Physics.