Tuesday, June 06, 2006

US Patent 7056409 - Silicon Nanofiber Velcro


Many improvements have been made over the past few centuries in the art of fastening materials together, such as improvements in buttons, zippers, velcro and so on. Nanotechnology is making it's contribution to the further evolution of fastening technology. The inventors of this patent quote the desirably of adhesive attachments as found in nature (such as used by spiders, etc.) and explain the use of silicon nanofiber to achieve a bonding effect. Claim 3 reads

3. A method of adhering two or more surfaces, the method comprising: i.) providing a first surface comprising a plurality of silicon nanofibers attached thereto; ii.) providing at least a second surface; and, iii.) contacting the first surface and the at least second surface, wherein at least a portion of the plurality of nanofibers contacts the second surface on a side surface of said nanofibers wherein the contacting creates van der Waals forces between the nanofibers and the second surface which van der Waals forces are sufficient to adhere the surfaces together.

An earlier patent (US 6927982) uses other nanomaterial (carbon nanotubes) for bonding electronic circuit elements.