What do geckos have in common with automobiles?
Not much, as it stands. But Ford Motor Company and Proctor & Gamble have initiated a collaborative research effort into the gecko’s natural, unique method of adhering to various surfaces – efforts which could have an impact on future sustainability.
See, Ford Motor Company has discovered that the glue often used to adhere materials on vehicles (like foam to plastic or metal) can make cleaning for recycling a difficult – if not impossible – task. To solve the problem, Ford is looking to the gecko in the hopes of pioneering an entirely new means of material adhesion, one without any residue.
According to a release from Ford Motor Company, a typical, 2.5-ounce gecko can support up to 293 pounds. It does this without assistance from any liquids or surface tension, and can readily release itself without leaving any substances behind. In order to ensure that more of its leftover and scrap materials can be recycled, Ford Motor Company is turning to the method of “biomimicry” to try and decode a means of using the same adhesive principle.
In fact, Ford Motor Company just recently hosted a forum on the “biomimetic” method at its Dearborn campus, with Proctor & Gamble and non-profit The Biomimicry Institute both participating. “We are excited for the opportunity to participate, together with Ford – with whom we have a history of collaboration – in The Biomimicry Institute workshop,” said P&G Director of Corporate Connect and Development Lee Ellen Drechsler. “We have an interest within Procter & Gamble for using biomimicry as a way to broaden our approach to solving tough research challenges.”