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The Sebir that created Velcro

Background

In 1941, 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 the microscope, he saw that the burs contained tiny hooks that caught in the loops of his clothes and in the dog’s hair

Goal

Improve the mutual stickability of cloth materials

Problem

Cloth materials do not naturally stick to each other

Sebir

The mutual stickability of cloth materials was achieved through creating a physical pattern of artificial loops and attaching it to each material

One material sticks to another material because the loops have a natural affinity for each other and interlock

Association Comment

George de Mestral 'associated' the ability of cocklebur plants to stick to other materials via tiny loops they possessed, and adapted this by adding tiny loops to a base material that had the ability to stick to other similarly treated materials

Historic Impact

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