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back to article German boffins invent steel Velcro

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 …

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Paris Hilton

Maybe it's because I'm an idiot.

That I'm just not getting this. I understand the 35 tonnes/sq m perpendicular, i.e. sliding past each other, part. But how easy is this stuff to pull apart? 7 tonnes? Or am reading it wrong?

Someone please help I'm having a Paris moment!

No, not in that way.

Or that way.

Stop it.

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Joke

Choirs of Angels Rejoice

Along with superheroes everywhere as they finally have a way of keeping their pants on during those high velocity / supersonic fights.

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Jobs Horns

Sounds Like

A new torture device for extraordinary rendition candidates, "Now see this velcro, well tell us what we need to no and we wont attach it to your gonads."

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Go

"tensile force is applied parallel to the fastener surface"

That would mean "Shear strength" then wouldn't it? Why don't they just say that?

So if the perpendicular strength is seven tons per square meter then that could still make it difficult to remove if this velcro if it is used to attach solid objects to it.

No I'm not going to do the maths on what size it needs to be before an average human could pull it off.

It could only easily be removed when it's used to attach flexible objects to each other which you can peel apart the velcro, so that would reduce it's use. Or it could only be used in a small area attaching solid objects together to enable a human unaided to remove it.

Umm, talking myself into a hold here, anyhow, it looks like a good idea.

I just hope they don't use it for everything, could make car crashes of the future interesting.

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Bronze badge

What's the military angle?

Come on, if Lewis wrote the article it's clearly military. Spill it: are they intending to make flat-pack gun emplacements with this stuff?

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@secretgeek

Thats 7 tonnes per square metre - the answer is to peel back a bit at a time and not try to pull a 1 square metre section off in one go.

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Re: Maybe it's because I'm an idiot.

7 tonnes strictly perpendicular without bending it . If you however want to unzip it you bend one of the sticky strips to unzip it.

There is very low (if any) likelihood that this will ever be unzipped.

If you have gone as far as using steel velcro to bind one surface to the other both of them are least likely to be flexible. So it is pretty much a "stick-on-forever" use.

For the same reason it is least likely to see a lot of use in construction as well as other proposed applications because it requires "German precision" in aligning them exactly before the two are pressed together. That is not feasible for most applications. The usual way of fixing two heavy things to each other is sliding them into position until the bolts or welding points align and with this you cannot do that.

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Boffin

@all of you

Yes its 7 tonnes per square meter! (perpendicular)

BUT when do you ever pull velcro all at once?

You dont! you pull Progressively from one end to the other, so you are actually pulling only a line the width of the strip at a time.

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Anonymous Coward

Looks familiar

Ah yes, it's the view to be had from the prone position as those innovative Germans come over to entertain us all with their heavy metal collection.

Look, I'm just saying what you're all thinking....

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"without use of any special tools."

Well, other than something that'll be strong enough to pull the stuff apart. Which, I suppose, could be as basic as hooking up one side to a truck or something, which isn't "special".

Or, until cybernetic arms are commonplace enough that they're not special.

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Noise

Missed the most important detail: What sound does it make?

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lots of uses

It could easily find a home with construction, and home use. Workers could fasten beams and walls together to hold them in place while stronger more permanent supports are attached. Your Flat screen TV will NEVER weigh more than 7 tonnes. Imagine being able to attach lamps and screens to the wall with velcro. This could be used for safety devices, seat belts, climbing gear etc.

I don't think this will have only permanent uses. 7 Tonnes sounds like a lot, but it really should be easy to open for a regular strength adult , you would maybe have to wiggle and pull a bit, but this is a great idea. Granted above comments about flexibility could limit adoption, but its not like you need to cover the full square meter of space on the back of the TV. If a Square meter will hold 7-35 tonnes, you could put two strips on the back of the TV and just "peel" it off the wall from one side. Granted

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Germans...

...I'm sure there is a secondary kinky use that it was actually designed for...

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Coat

OK, so it sticks to itself...

...But how do you stick it to the buildings it's holding together? Because, whatever you're using for that, why not just stick the two buildings directly together with it (via a simple metal sheet if you really want to recreate the composition here).

Or does this stuff need embedding in the surfaces with bolts/similar. If so, then why not use those bolts/similar to attach the buildings directly. And, when attached in such a permanent fashion (on a presumably flat-surfaced object), how do you "peel" it away from the other half of itself to deliver the point of a re-usable mechanism? Otherwise you will need the 7 tonnes/m2 force.

Mine's the one with my hand stuck in the pocket thanks to the leaky bottle of Loctite I chose instead...

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Bronze badge
WTF?

letters digits

Happily this will never get used in actual construction, so we're safe from a future where balconies and other random bits of building routinely crash to the earth.

The only thing Velcro is good for is kids shoes, because the shoes wear out before the Velcro fails.

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Carpet fluff!

Will it become less sticky when full up with carpet fluff, cotton and hair?

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Anonymous Coward

This looks

like something the Moderatrix could use...

No, not on me!

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Boffin

Sooo...

....how do you stick the velcro to the things you're hooking together? More velcro?

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Bronze badge

Looks Painful

Just as well it's for buildings, would be lethal on your trouser pockets.

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(untitled)

".... Imagine being able to attach lamps and screens to the wall with velcro...."

Yes - but you still have to attach the Metaklett to the wall in the first place. That fixing may be the weak point.

If you use Velcro to attach two solid objects with flat surfaces, you can't remove it by peeling at one end. Think about it (or try it).

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@ Dale 3

A horrible ripping noise that goes through my soul like a bad kebab avoids my digestive system. Seriously, nails on a black board, no problem, velcro (or sellotape) grainds my teeth and has me juddering..Truely awful noise..

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Anonymous Coward

Thin hooks

I seem to remember metal oxidizing over time. Small, thin things fairly quickly.

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Linux

Deutschland über alles!

Necessity is the mother of invention, however, in Deutschland man is the creator of necessity.

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Re: OK, so it sticks to itself

Odds are you nail or screw the strips into the material you wish to bond. This could be a handy temporary bonding for use in constructing in unusual positions where it may be tricky to simultaneously hold up the piece you're working on and secure it to the rest of the frame. The strips can be nailed into place from relatively-comfortable positions (eg. the board going up can have its strips nailed on while it's still at ground level). Then, once it goes up, the hooks can hold the board in place while more permanent bindings are put in place. This is just one example.

Another possible example: business or store name signs for leased lots and building units. Since the unit/building can potentially change hands, you don't necessarily want something that's bonded to the building for all eternity.

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Probably funded by the German Steel industry

The car business being a bit flat at the moment.

High temperature hook & loop fastners are an interesting idea (It's only Velcro when they make it. Trademark violation etc).

However iirc high temp Velcro is already available but uses superalloy wires and ceramic fibre loops but I think its good to 800c. Why its not totally ceramic fibre is a mystery to me as I think ceramic fibre is flexible enough to handle the bending and that would raise the upper use limit quite a bit. And it was stated it can be pulled apart by hand.

This looks like it could be made in high volume on some process line at relatively low cost. The holding power seems quite high.

Now if it could hold out to say 1300-1400c you could hold on the TPS panels for a space vehicle (needed because if one of them fails the fastener would be directly exposed to airstream).

A note on the building apps. Velcro covered bits can be slapped on with a linear motion. Removing (or repositioning them) involves peeling them off. If your talking about 2 rigid objects (picture frame and wall for example) trying to peel a picture frame of could get messy.

I'm sure it will find uses in various places. I suspect they will *not* be where its inventors think. Hmm. Germans. Tight gripping. Metal. Leather...

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Go

Another Potential Use

Another potential use would be to secure loads on trucks (e.g. shipping containers). Where current methods use high-tension straps and ratchets, you could use Metaklett strips instead. For the container example, the flatbed of the truck could be covered in the stuff, but done so in a way where it was composed of small strips that would permit the "peeling apart."

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@Charles 9

" Another possible example: business or store name signs for leased lots and building units. Since the unit/building can potentially change hands, you don't necessarily want something that's bonded to the building for all eternity. "

Ever heard of something called a "screwdriver"...?

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@Rob Dobs

Climbing Gear? Noooooo thank you.

Roped access work is one of the few areas where the epithet "Health & Safety" doesn't elicit groans, sniggers and derision. I can't see any RAO giving this even a second look if used in any form of fall arrest system, let alone a single-line sport/leisure climber.

I'm only ever comfortable when I brainwash myself into believing that my belay could stop a falling landrover - though not when I'm also on the line.

I obviously exempt all eastern European RAOs from the above comments due to their collective disregard for any form of personal safety - odds on the Poles have already tried straping it to their boots and walking up a wall.

Crazy madness.

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Coat

Oh god...

I found myself thinking about this in a concert last night!

You can't peel off something if the something is not very flexible, so if that building fascia is solid and inflexible, like stone, for instance, it will not be removable ever, and sheesh... better line it up right before letting those strips touch!

My coat is the one with some screws and a hammer in the pocket.

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Bronze badge

Please, please, PLEASE

Tell me they've tested this against a Magnitude 8.0 Earthquake? Just want to make sure the new Buildings in Tokyo won't "peel" apart in late 2012. (yes, recent anime reference - deal with it)

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Bug
Gates Horns

vandals' delight

"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"

Great! And that would be really useful, because, well, umm... No actually that would be stupidly dangerous.

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