Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Biomimicry Week Sticky Subject
05 July 2013

Sticky Subject

Sealing wounds can be a sticky subject, and so the search is on to find new materials to do the job. For adhesive inspiration, where better to look than to the gecko – a reptile that can hang from the ceiling with a single finger. Geckos' feet bristle with millions of tiny projections, each one creating an attractive pull towards a surface. Although tiny, these attractions add up – leading to a force that can support up to 40 kilograms. By inventing a flexible tape (pictured) that mimics the spiny surface of gecko foot pads, scientists may bring this impressive sticking power to the operating table. And the results are promising. The material not only holds tissue firmly together, but it’s also biodegradable (dark patches show decay) – an essential trait for internal applications. This approach could spell the end of traditional stitches using needle and thread.

Written by Jan Piotrowski

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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