Gecko grip

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - SKIN -

It’s al­ways mes­meris­ing watch­ing a gecko run ef­fort­lessly over a pane of glass but, un­til re­cently, it was as­sumed they just man­aged to hook them­selves onto im­per­fec­tions on the glass. Now we know it goes much deeper than that. The skin on the toes of these lit­tle lizards is cov­ered in mil­lions of mi­cro­scopic hair­like structures that ac­tu­ally in­ter­act with the glass at a molec­u­lar level, through a process of at­trac­tion known as van der Waals force (a dis­tance-de­pen­dent in­ter­ac­tion be­tween atoms or mol­e­cules), help­ing the geckos ‘stick’ to near-sheer sur­faces.

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