Geckos can't climb teflon

Tom Quinn sez, "A gecko struggles with the low van der Waals forces encountered when climbing a non-stick pan." Here's a Google Translate of the French description on the video:

We conducted an experiment with a gecko on a Tefal frying pan, that is to say, a pan made ​​of Teflon. The gecko, despite numerous attempts fails to climb onto the stove, it proves that it not adhere not in this matter.

Gecko.MOV (Thanks, Tom Quinn!)

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  1. I read a long time ago, that researchers that need to capture geckos for study will build a trap out of a large sheet of teflon it that will funnel them into a container

  2. “…a Tefal frying pan, that is to say, a pan made ​​of Teflon…”

    WRONG. Such a pan has a Teflon coating only.

    By the way: Teflon is a thermoplastic polymer and was found in 1938, long before even the A4 rocket – 20 years prior to NASA.

  3. Huh, I wonder how this scales down– if spiders & flies would have the same problem.  I mean, same fundamental forces, right?

    1. if i recall correctly (and if i don’t someone here will call me foul names) “spiders & flies” use a combination of claws and stickiness (semi-liquid) to find a sort of “rock climber’s hold” on the surface (which is much easier when one’s mass is so relatively small); whereas… (it’s a good day when one can use a ‘whereas’)… geckos use a very different method of adherence involving gazillions of tiny hairs (or hair like projections) which interact with Van der Waals forces … electrostatic attraction at the atomic level.  Someone else, ((you reading this perhaps)) can explain how Teflon™ can reduce the effectiveness of such forces (probably related to the dielectric properties of PTFE, maybe)

      1. “a geckos uses a very different method of adherence involving gazillions of tiny hairs (or hair like projections) which interact with Van der Waals forces … electrostatic attraction at the atomic level. ”

        Maybe this is dependant on the type of lizard, but Bearded Dragons (an example of which can be seen in the above video) just use their claws as far as I’m aware.  Your explanation sounds much fancier though, and may well be true for Geckos (for which this is not).

      1. Evolution is a natural process, not a school of science. Engineers perform engineering, astronomers perform astronomy, but nobody goes out and performs evolution.

        1. Don’t you perform evolution when you procreatively mate with someone because of his/her desirable characteristics?

      1. It is a Tarentola mauritanica. A Moorish gecko.  You are correct.  I’ve seen many of them, although I’ve never made them attempt to run up a non-stick pan. 

        I have seen my Day Geckos unstick and fall off the glass when I’ve been spraying  their tanks with water though. They look very embarrassed when they do that. 

  4. So non stick pans reduce sticking? Science!

    What happens when you do this with a Jesus lizard?

  5. In the next section of the french video we see how difficult it is for the gecko when olive oil and a little garlic is added and the gas is turned on.

  6. We will next try to answer the question: What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

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