Who Made Velcro?Google Questions
In 1941, a Swiss engineer named George de Mestral returned from a hunting trip with burs clinging to his pants and tangled in his dog’s coat. When de Mestral examined the seedpods under a microscope, he marveled at how they bristled with hooks ingeniously shaped to grasp at animal fur. “Most people stop at the ‘Oh, that’s cool, that’s what nature does,’ ” says Janine Benyus, a pioneer in the field of biomimicry, the science of studying natural models — anthills and lizard feet, say — to solve human problems. “He probably had to go back a lot of times,” she adds, “and really look” at those hooks. A bur, of course, can clamp onto wool socks with surprising force, and — even more amazing — once you pry it off, it can stick again and again, like glue that never wears out. But how to imitate this trick with human-made stuff? Eventually de Mestral learned to mold nylon into a fabric studded with tiny hooks or loops that acted like artificial burs.
When Velcro first arrived in America, it caused a sensation. In 1958, a syndicated financial columnist named Sylvia Porter announced that “a new fastening device” had so bewitched her that she spent days playing with it. “It’s on my desk as I type this,” she wrote.
As for Benyus, she hopes our future will be held together with detachable hooks. Myriad plants and animals use Velcro-like attachments, she says, and engineers are now studying nature to learn how to create a “super-Velcro” that would be strong enough to fuse the pieces of a computer or maybe even a car. She points out that super-Velcro offers a lesson in sustainability. “If we were able to put the parts of a computer together with gecko tape, or insect tape, we could send the computer back to the manufacturer, and they could disassemble it and reuse different parts or recycle it easier.” Benyus says. “Glue actually contaminates recyclables. We throw things in a landfill just because they’re glued together. Instead, we should take our machines apart and use the building blocks again.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- High on Hitler and Meth: Book Says Nazis Were Fueled by Drugs
- Guam war reparations bill moves to White House
- South Atlantic Mystery Flash in September 1979 Raised Questions about Nuclear Test
- California Owes Reparations To Victims Of Forced Race & Intellectual-Based Sterilization, Study Finds
- All the times in U.S. history that members of the electoral college voted their own way
- Historians' Debate: Is this The Age of Trump?
- Economists are attacking historians’ recent works on slavery
- Salon suggests Paul Gottfried, "a retired Jewish political historian,” was a founder of the Alt-Right
- National Women's History Museum Receives Grant to Rebuild Website with Advanced Content Capabilities
- UCLA history professor Gabriel Piterberg continues to come under attack after being accused of sexual harassment