Amazing Spider-Man Tech Will Let Soldiers Scale Sheer Walls

Posted on 7/16/2012 9:21:05 AM By Fox News: Barrie, Allison

Several university and government research efforts are focusing on materials that will allow soldiers to scale buildings like the famed comic hero Spider-Man. The majority of these efforts are dedicated to replicating the gecko, which is able to climb flat surfaces because of millions of tiny hairs on the soles of the its feet. The hairs keep it's toes in contact with the surface, creating molecular forces of attraction. Each hair has a mushroom-shaped cap smaller than one-thousandth of a millimeter across at the tip. While the attractive force of just a single hair is incredibly small, the force multiplied by millions of hairs on each foot enables the gecko to climb while carrying 18 times its body weight. So far, BAE System's Advanced Technology Center has one of the most successful programs working to mimic the gecko. The center has successfully created a materiel that has polymer layers comprised of thousands of microscopic stalks with splayed tips, like the gecko hairs. Tests of the material show it is capable of a pull-off force of 2,000 kg per square meter. Placing the material on the palms of a human would provide enough strength to support a person's weight. A T-shirt made of the material could hold the weight of a family car. BAE has been looking at military applications for the material, including ways of quickly repairing holes in aircraft skins or fuel tanks, as well as a way of instantly attaching stealth material or armor to vehicles. The material could even be used to tether aircraft to carrier decks or improve robotics.

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