Adhesive-less Post-It

There’s a new threat to our beloved yellow Post-It and it’s called micro-suction tape. I know it doesn’t sound as cool as Post-It but it offers something new to the table. Developed in Japan, this sticky tape believe it or not contains no adhesive! Here’s the highight of an article in Forbes.com

The tape is an ingenious piece of engineering. It is made of an acrylic foam sheet pocked with suction cups so small they’re invisible to the naked eye. Once stuck on a surface, you can easily peel it from the edge because the sucking power of each cup is weak. But the total combined sucking power is extremely strong. So you really feel the adhesion when you try to pull it off a surface all at once vertically or horizontally. The manufacturer, Exel Trading (which is keeping the exact manufacturing process confidential), was kind enough to send me some samples. I took them to the department of mechanical engineering at the Izmir Institute of Technology in Izmir,Turkey to photograph with a special microscope designed to view the surface of materials…

…Just like the manufacturer had claimed, the tape looked like the surface of the moon. The craters are scattered unevenly, and it didn’t look very beautiful. But those craters work, and they work extremely well. A 4-inch-by-1-inch piece of tape can easily hold up to one pound of weight. I tried a matchbox-size sheet, and it was able to securely hold up the charger of my Mac OSX laptop. This is extremely strong when compared to other sticky surfaces that you can use over and over, like the sticky used on the 3M ( MMM – news – people ) Post-it notes. The power is similar to a regular earth magnet, but magnets are often not safe to use with electronics and are not practical to carry around.

…The tape, branded as Regabond-S, is not cheap: $45 per square meter. This would be a lot more expensive, about 40 times as much, as 3M sticky adhesive but it may be unfair to make such a comparison since the micro-suction tape was not intended to be a consumable. Although the micro-suction tape is stronger, the price and function is more comparable to a sheet magnet used on refrigerators, which sell for about $32 per square meter. This tape can be used in places such as glass windows or flat surfaces where magnets don’t work. I can even think of toys that might use this adhesive so kids could easily build temporary characters, vehicles or buildings just like Legos but with a little more creative freedom.

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