Why can’t ‘Spiderman’ actually exist?

Washington D.C., Jan. 19 (ANI): Geckos are the largest animals, with unmanageably large sticky footpads, to scale smooth vertical walls, according to a latest research.

Scientists estimate that a human would need adhesive pads covering 40 percent of their body surface in order to walk up a wall like Spiderman, and believe their insights have implications for the feasibility of large-scale, gecko-like adhesives.

A new study shows that climbing animals from mites and spiders up to tree frogs and geckos, the percentage of body surface covered by adhesive footpads increases as body size increases, setting a limit to the size of animal that can use this strategy because larger animals would require impossibly big feet.

Researchers found that tiny mites use approximately 200 times less of their total body area for adhesive pads than geckos, nature’s largest adhesion-based climbers.

Once an animal is big enough to need a substantial fraction of its body surface to be covered in sticky footpads, the necessary morphological changes would make the evolution of this trait impractical, suggests Labonte.

According to Walter Federle, if a human, for example, wanted to walk up a wall the way a gecko does, we’d need impractically large sticky feet – our shoes would need to be a European size 145 or a US size 114.

The researchers say that these insights into the size limits of sticky footpads could have profound implications for developing large-scale bio-inspired adhesives, which are currently only effective on very small areas.

The study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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