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German boffins invent steel Velcro

Good for sticking on building facades, apparently

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German boffins have developed a new version of Velcro, made of steel for improved strength. They say that their "Metaklett" metallic hook-&-loop material could be used to hold together buildings, or to tape car parts to one another.

Steely velcro. Credit: Metaklett

When it absolutely mustn't come undone.

“The unbeatable advantage of a hook and loop fastener is that it is easy to close and open again,” says Josef Mair, a boffin from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM). As a result, conventional Velcro fasteners are used in shoes, medical bandages, cable ties etc. etc.

But synthetic Velcro isn't strong enough to use in applications such as hanging facades on buildings. Nor can it resist high temperatures, meaning that it can't be employed in assembling cars. The TUM boffins felt that this should be rectified - hence Metaklett: Velcro made out of spring steel.

According to the TUM:

Temperatures in excess of 800°C and aggressive chemical solutions do not pose any problem for Metaklett, which also offers adhesive strength of up to 35 tonnes per square meter when tensile force is applied parallel to the fastener surface. When it is applied perpendicular to the fastener surface, Metaklett can still withstand a force of seven tonnes per square meter. Moreover, like a standard Velcro® fastener on a child’s shoe, it can be opened and closed again without the help of any tools.

It would seem that the day may come when one can disassemble buildings, bridges, cars etc. simply by pulling them apart, without use of any special tools. Strange days. ®

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