Welcome to the all-new Vetlearn

  • Vetlearn is getting a new home. Starting this fall,
    Vetlearn becomes part of the NAVC VetFolio family.

    You'll have access to the entire Compendium and
    Veterinary Technician archives and get to explore
    even more ways to learn and earn CE by becoming
    a VetFolio subscriber. Subscriber benefits:
  • Over 500 hours of interactive CE Videos
  • An engaging new Community for tough cases
    and networking
  • Three years of NAVC Conference Proceedings
  • All-new articles (CE and other topics) for the entire
    healthcare team

To access Vetlearn, you must first sign in or register.

registernow

  • Registration for new subscribers will open in August 2014!
  • Watch for additional exciting news coming soon!
Become a Member

Reference Desk April 2013

Geckos Keep Firm Grip in Wet Natural Habitat

    April 1, 2013 — Geckos' ability to stick to trees and leaves during rainforest downpours has fascinated scientists for decades, leading a group of University of Akron researchers to solve the mystery.

    They discovered that wet, hydrophobic (water-repellent) surfaces like those of leaves and tree trunks secure a gecko's grip similar to the way dry surfaces do. The finding brings UA integrated bioscience doctoral candidate Alyssa Stark and her research colleagues closer to developing a synthetic adhesive that sticks when wet.

    Principal investigator Stark and her fellow UA researchers Ila Badge, Nicholas Wucinich, Timothy Sullivan, Peter Niewiarowski and Ali Dhinojwala study the adhesive qualities of gecko pads, which have tiny, clingy hairs that stick like Velcro to dry surfaces. In a 2012 study, the team discovered that geckos lose their grip on wet glass. This finding led the scientists to explore how the lizards function in their natural environments.

    The scientists studied the clinging power of six geckos, which they outfitted with harnesses and tugged upon gently as the lizards clung to surfaces in wet and dry conditions.

    Link Between Adhesion and 'Wettability'

    The researchers found that the effect of water on adhesive strength correlates with wettability, or the ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface. On glass, which has high wettability, a film of water forms between the surface and the gecko’s foot, decreasing adhesion.

    Conversely, on surfaces with low wettability, such as waxy leaves on tropical plants, the areas in contact with the gecko’s toes remain dry and adhesion, firm.

    “The geckos stuck just as well under water as they did on a dry surface, as long as the surface was hydrophobic,” Stark explains. “We believe this is how geckos stick to wet leaves and tree trunks in their natural environment.”

    The discovery, “Surface Wettability Plays a Significant Role in Gecko Adhesion Underwater,” was published April 1, 2013 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study has implications for the design of a synthetic gecko-inspired adhesive.

    Source: The University of Akron

    didyouknow

    Did you know... 51% of veterinarians reported a net decrease in patient visits over the last two years, while 42% said that revenues decreased in 2010 as compared to 2009. Read More

    Stay on top of all our latest content — sign up for the Vetlearn newsletters.
    • More
    Subscribe