Geckos possess the remarkable ability to climb vertical walls without using any adhesive glue. A gecko’s feet are covered by tiny hairs that stick to rough and smooth surfaces using van der Waals forces. Inspired by the gecko design, Ali Dhinojwala and researchers at the University of Akron have developed carbon nanotube-based gecko tapes that stick to most surfaces (even Teflon) and have self-cleaning abilities.
Carbon nanotube coatings on steel surfaces make them superhydrophobic without losing their electrical or thermal conductivity. Modifying the surface characteristics of stainless steel can lead to many new applications such as heat exchangers, electrodes for fuel cells, solar panels, fluid transport and non-fouling surfaces.