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The Sebir That Bred Velcro

Background

In1941, a Swiss agricultural engineer George de Mestral, went for a walk with his dog in the Jura Mountains in Switzerland. On their return, he noticed that many burs from the cocklebur plant were stuck fast to his trousers and to the dog's coat. Under a microscope, he detected that the burs contained tiny hooks that caught in the loops of his clothes and the dog's hair

Goal

Improve the mutual stickability of cloth and other materials

Problem

Cloth and other materials did not naturally attach to each other

Sebir

Attaching two pieces of material together was achieved through creating a physical pattern of artificial hooks on one piece of material that would then affix to artificial loops on another These separate materials adhered to each other because the hooks and loops had a natural affinity to interlock

Association Comment

George de Mestral associated more broadly from the capability of cocklebur plants in nature to adhere to 'loops' in other materials via tiny hooks they possessed and, in so doing, was able to breed artificial hooks and loops embedded in materials to achieve a reciprocal binding mechanism

Historic Impact

As a result of developing an artificial material that mimicked nature, George de Mestral invented Velcro