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Home > News > The Secret Of Ivy's Sticking Power

March 26th, 2008

The Secret Of Ivy's Sticking Power

Abstract:
In another example of nature making the most of nanotechnology, scientists have discovered that ivy uses organic nanoparticles to cling to and climb up virtually any surface (Nano Lett., DOI: 10.1021/nl0725704).

The small and flexible nanoparticles fit easily into even the tiniest crevices, thereby allowing ivy to generate enough force for climbing and giving it an incredible affixing power, which anyone who has ever tried to remove the resilient vine can attest to. According to the researchers, engineers could exploit this novel adhesive mechanism for a range of engineering applications, including the development of climbing robots.

Mingjun Zhang, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, engineering professor who spearheaded the research, got the idea to study ivy while watching his son play outside one afternoon. He noticed how the plant had woven its way around a nearby fence and wondered what the source of its climbing prowess was.

Source:
pubs.acs.org

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