Sticky gecko feet: The role of temperature and humidity

May 14, 2008

A team of five University of Akron researchers has published the paper, “Sticky gecko feet: the role of temperature and humidity” in PLoS ONE, an open-access, online journal for peer-reviewed scientific and medical research.

The UA authors are Dr. Peter Niewiarowski, professor of biology; Stephanie Lopez, graduate student in biology; Liehui Ge, graduate assistant in polymer science; Emily Hagan (undergraduate REU participant, Hiram); and Dr. Ali Dhinojwala, professor of polymer science.

“We tested the effect of temperature and humidity on the ability of geckos to stick to glass, expecting that neither would have a major role,” says Niewiarowski. “Surprisingly, we found that both temperature and humidity variation affect their ability to cling to glass.

“For example, under very humid conditions, geckos stick with twice the force compared to dry conditions at low temperatures. At high temperatures, geckos stick comparatively poorly and the humidity level is less important. Previous work by other labs using isolated setae suggested that clinging ability should be insensitive to variation in both temperature and humidity. Our work with live geckos indicates a need to further explore the role of temperature and humidity on adhesion to different surfaces in both natural (geckos) and synthetic materials.”

Citation: Niewiarowski PH, Lopez S, Ge L, Hagan E, Dhinojwala A (2008) Sticky Gecko Feet: The Role of Temperature and Humidity. PLoS ONE 3(5): e2192. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002192 (www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0002192)

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Microscopic 'sunflowers' for better solar panels

Related Stories

Microscopic 'sunflowers' for better solar panels

December 4, 2018

The pads of geckos' notoriously sticky feet are covered with setae—microscopic, hairlike structures whose chemical and physical composition and high flexibility allow the lizard to grip walls and ceilings with ease. Scientists ...

How geckos cope with wet feet

August 9, 2012

Geckos are remarkable little creatures, clinging to almost any dry surface, and Alyssa Stark, from the University of Akron, USA, explains that they appear to be equally happy scampering through tropical rainforest canopies ...

Recommended for you

Classic double-slit experiment in a new light

January 18, 2019

An international research team led by physicists from the University of Cologne has implemented a new variant of the basic double-slit experiment using resonant inelastic X-ray scattering at the European Synchrotron ESRF ...

Technology near for real-time TV political fact checks

January 18, 2019

A Duke University team expects to have a product available for election year that will allow television networks to offer real-time fact checks onscreen when a politician makes a questionable claim during a speech or debate.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.