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Science & Technology

Scientists invent UV 'Spider-Man' adhesive

By T.K. Randall
January 24, 2017 · Comment icon 10 comments



Could Spider-Man soon become a reality ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Roger Murmann
German scientists have developed a new type of super-strong adhesive that reacts to ultraviolet light.
Developed by a team led by Emre Kizilkan from Kiel University, the adhesive device features a surface texture inspired by the feet of geckos combined with a porous, light-sensitive film.

The film is made from azobenzene - a molecule that curls when exposed to ultraviolet light.

The surface, which is comprised of tiny mushroom-shaped pillars, sticks to other surfaces via van der Waals forces so by turning a UV light on or off it is possible to enable or disable the adhesive.
The scientists are hoping to combine this technology with robotics to one day make it possible to climb up the side of buildings and other surfaces like the comic-book superhero Spider-Man.

The adhesive is in fact so sticky that a 20cm square of it is enough to support an adult male.

While it's still early days yet ( encountering a dirty wall for instance can clog it up ), the team is hoping to begin developing spider-like wall-climbing bots in the near future.

"The global aim is to make an adhesive to climb surfaces for humans," said Kizilkan.

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Eldorado 6 years ago
Vee have vays of making you valk on valls.
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Very interesting.† The CIS/Trans switch is how optical brightenrs work to make clothes and paper whiter when UV is in the light source.† Te OBS that are commonly used hsve a stilbene linkage (CH=CH) to use the UV energy to fluoresce.† I'm a bit surprised the paper and articles use the term azobenzene.† Many of the azobenzene derivatives have been banned in Grrmany to to their carcogenicity. It will be interesting to see i this gets commercialized
Comment icon #3 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
What an awful place to live in!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Torviking 6 years ago
What's the point of it? If I stick something during the day I do not want it to fall apart when it goes dark.
Comment icon #5 Posted by freetoroam 6 years ago
†so by turning a UV light on or off it is possible to enable or disable the adhesive While it's still early days yet ( encountering a dirty wall for instance can clog it up ), the team is hoping to begin developing spider-like wall-climbing bots in the near future. http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/303060/scientists-invent-uv-spider-man-adhesive If i had a uv light shining on my ever clean wall and saw someone climbing it....i would wait til they get to the window and turn the light off.† †
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
That's what I get for typing last night without my glasses on.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
Don't worry!† I invite you to join me in the nearby ÷ooohsterreich, life there is all another story!† † Jokes aside, thank you for the insights on the topic, very interesting.† Maybe azobenzene is not allowed for industrial uses, but allowed for research purposes?† As a paperdyer I reckon you are quite knowledgeable on the matter!
Comment icon #8 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
† As far as I understand it (and of course I could be wrong), the UV light is an integral part of the system, it would be like having a UV lamp in the sole, that emits flashes of light accordingly with your movement, allowing you to walk.† A bit like a magnetic sole, where basically the electric current is switched on and off everytime you want to make a step.†
Comment icon #9 Posted by freetoroam 6 years ago
You may be right, but the soul is where the problems are at the moment as they get clogged up....so until they can get sorted, it would be best not to have the lamp there.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
Let's wait and see. They will probably integrate the system with a vacuum cleaner!


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