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Steel 'Velcro' supports 35 metric tons, looks scary


September 14, 2009

Metaklett steel hook-and-loop fastener

Metaklett steel hook-and-loop fastener

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A new material called Metaklett is like hook-and-loop (“Velcro”) made out of steel and much scarier. One side of the material bristles with sharp spikes and the other side has jagged steel brushes. Looking something like the mouth of a prehistoric shark, a square meter of Metaklett can support up to 35 metric tons and withstand heat of up to 800 degrees Celsius. Developed at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, researchers borrowed from the traditional hook-and-loop concept to design a fastener for extreme loads and environments such as automotive, building, or military applications.

Traditional Velcro hook-and-loop fasteners have been around for about 60 years. Typically made of nylon, the sticky stuff with its trademark ripping sound is now found in myriad applications such as shoe laces, bandages, clothing and uniforms, cable ties, and just about anywhere removable or adjustable fasteners are required.

One drawback to nylon hook-and-loop is that it does not hold up well in extreme conditions. Metaklett’s developers say their material is suitable for use in hot environments, such as the automotive or aerospace industries, as well applications that require great strength such as the building trades. Metaklett could also be suitable for use in chemical environments where disinfectants or other harsh materials would destroy traditional hook-and-loop.

The researchers from the university’s Institute of Metal Forming and Casting have developed three variants of the Metaklett fastener: "Entenknopf" (or "duck's head") is modeled closely on standard Velcro. “Flamingo” uses wider hook elements that snap into openings in a perforated tape. A third “hybrid” variant combines a spring-steel hook side with a synthetic loop side for use in textile applications.

For additional information visit Metaklett (site is in German, or try the Google translation).


So, if a square meter of this stuff can hold 35 tons, then my question is, how do you un-hook it when you're done with what you're connecting together? That's the advantage of hook and loop fasteners...you can unattach them as easily as you can attach them, this doesn't look like it would be that easy to unattach anything after it's been attached! ed


It is probably about the direction that the force is applied. It can support a force parallel to the planar surface f 35 metric tons. Apply a force perpendicular, and it probably no where near as strong.


You'd remove it the same way you remove Velcro, by peeling it off. Ever see the David Letterman trick where he jumped against a wall wearing a suit covered with half of the Velcro fastener? A square meter of regular Velcro can hold a lot of weight, too. Since a square meter is almost 1600 square inches and Velcro has shear strength of over 20 psi, you're talking 32,000 pounds in shear.


Yeah, I saw that David Letterman stunt...I personally enjoyed his Alka-seltzer suit and the tank of water.... ed

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