The bird's feather clasp will give odds to the usual Velcro

Whoever played with bird feathers as a child remembers how easily they separate along the fibers extending from the central rod. And then they connect back, as if there was no break. Researcher Tara Sullivan of the University of California, San Diego decided to try to recreate this natural mechanism.

The nib is made of keratin, the same durable material that human nails are made of. The fibers extending from the shaft are called barbs and are equipped with tiny protrusions - hooks along the edges. They are able to cling to similar formations on adjacent barbs, which forms the mechanism of adhesion-separation of barbs in the feather.

Sullivan took up a detailed measurement of this feather structure and revealed a pattern: in the feathers of all birds, the beards are always located at a distance of 8-16 micrometers from each other. Based on this data, she developed models of several barbs and printed them multiply enlarged copies on a 3D printer. Now they clearly illustrate how this natural velcro works, and can become the basis for new applied technology.

But what is even more interesting - the bird feather has the property of one-sided permeability. It can not allow air to pass through, retain it from the bottom, which allows the feather, and with it the entire wing of the bird, to "rest" on the air mass. Sullivan believes we can replicate this by creating a controlled permeability suit based on simple technology, mimicking the structure of a bird's wing.