Essay on Nanoscale Adhesive, Inspired by The Gecko

Essay on Nanoscale Adhesive, Inspired by The Gecko

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Treating an open wound or surgical incision with stitches can potentially cause a variety of side effects: infection, scars, or dehiscence (the reopening of a wound). In a currently developing prototype, a new form of wound treatment externally and internally acts as a bandage, combining the knowledge of gecko adhesion, and a sugar-based glue. Created by Professor Robert Langer and Jeff Carp of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this gecko-inspired adhesive is biodegradable, biocompatible (does not cause inflammation), and flexible for the movement of tissues and muscles (Dougherty). As a result, nanoscale adhesive suggests a promising future for simplifying surgeries and implementing an easier recovery for patients through a chemically supported design.
A gecko’s ability to climb a vertical surface relies solely on the geometrical makeup of hairs on each toe. In a grid-like pattern, each toe contains microscopic hairs called setae. These setae, once again magnified, split into triangular shaped hairs called spatulae at the tips. Millions of spatulae come into close contact to the surface, as each hair fits into the “ridges” and “peaks” of the molecular landscape. In both the surface, and the hairs of the gecko, protons and electrons continually move within the molecules. However once in extremely close proximity, an induced dipole occurs, and the molecules become either partially negative or positive. These attractions, when magnified by the millions of other spatulae contacting the surface, create stability for the gecko to climb the wall. Moving its feet parallel to the surface, the gecko is able to easily adhere to the surface, and then quickly detach its feet by pulling away perpendicularly from the surface - or at ...

... middle of paper ...

...ellar, and Anne M. Peattie. "Mechanisms of Adhesion in Geckos." Integr.
Comp. Biology 42.1081-1090 (2002): 1-10. Web. 23 May 2011. .

2. Dougherty, Elizabeth. "MIT Creates Gecko-inspired Bandage." MIT. 18 Feb. 2008. Web.
23 May 2011. .

3. "Gecko-Inspired Bandage May Heal Surgical Incisions." TFOT - The Future Of Things.
Web. 23 May 2011. .

4. Highfield, Roger. "Gecko Inspired Waterproof Adhesive Bandage - Telegraph." - Telegraph Online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph - Telegraph. 18 Feb. 2008. Web. 23 May 2011. .

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