According to research done in Italy, Spiderman could have some competition for wall space from a new sticky superhero

A gecko's foot

Source: Shutterstock

Forget Spiderman, Geckoman is the stickiest superhero, at least so suggests research to be published in the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.1  

According to Nicola Pugno at the Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy, the secret of making a sticky, yet non-stick, material could lie in creating a 'hierarchical structure' of branching bristles from ever finer carbon nanotubes.  

Such a bristly material would mimic the physical properties of the gecko's feet, which allow the lizard to hang effortlessly by a single pad from even the smoothest of surfaces. 

Pugno calculated that the hierarchical approach could lead to a stiff, non-tangling material with tips flexible enough for temporary adhesion.