Advisory Board

Professor Nicola Pugno

The ScienceDaily article Physicists Have Found The Formula For A Spiderman Suit said

Physicists have found the formula for a Spiderman suit. Only recently has man come to understand how spiders and geckos effortlessly scuttle up walls and hang from ceilings but it was doubted that this natural form of adhesion would ever be strong enough to hold the weight of real life Peter Parkers.
Recent research concluded that van der Waals forces — the weak attraction that molecules have for each other when they are brought very close together – are responsible for creepy crawlies’ amazing sticking power. It is the tiny hairs on spiders’ feet that attract to the molecules of surfaces, even glass, and keep them steady.
Professor Nicola Pugno, engineer and physicist at Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, has formulated a hierarchy of adhesive forces that will be strong enough to suspend a person’s full body weight against a wall or on a ceiling, while also being easy to detach.
Carbon nanotube-based technology could be used to develop nano-molecular hooks and loops that would function like microscopic Velcro. This detachable, adhesive force could be used in conjunction with van der Waals forces and capillary adhesion.
Pugno said, “There are many interesting applications for our theory, from space exploration and defense, to designing gloves and shoes for window cleaners of big skyscrapers.”

Nicola Pugno, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Structural Mechanics, Politecnico di Torino, Dept. of Structural Engineering.
Nicola has authored about 200 papers in international journals, international or national conference proceedings, about 100 of them in international journals (also with high impact factor as Nature materials or highlighted by Nature, New Scientist, or selected as best papers), on Structural-, Fracture- Bio- and Nano-Mechanics.
Nicola authored On the Strength of the Carbon Nanotube-Based Space Elevator Cable: From Nano- to Mega-Mechanics and Mimicking nacre with super-nanotubes for producing optimized super-composites, and coauthored Quantized fracture mechanics, Analysis of the harmonic vibrations of a beam with a breathing crack, A fractal comminution approach to evaluate the drilling energy dissipation, The fracture mechanics of finite crack extension, Boundary element method for the strain-softening response of quasi-brittle materials in compression, Numerical Analysis of Nanotube Based NEMS Devices — Part II: Role of Finite Kinematics, Stretching and Charge Concentrations, Non-tubular bonded joint under torsion — Theory and numerical validation, and Non-linear dynamics of nanotube based NEMS.
Nicola earned his Degree in Mechanical Engineering, 110/110 cum laude in 1995 and his Ph.D. in Structural Engineering (Fracture Mechanics) in 1998, both at the Politecnico di Torino. He earned his D. Habil in Theoretical Physics, 110/110 cum laude in 2004 at the University of Torino.