Micaela Storari, Grazia De Cesare, Marcella Ioele, Gian Franco Priori, Mauro Torre

Gecko® Nanoplast is an adhesive tape that imitates the adhesive properties of gecko toes; the
substrate is polyurethane (PUR), and the adhesive side is made of micro-textured poly-dimethyl
siloxane (PDMS). It works in dry conditions and without addition of glue, thanks to a physical
mechanism, exclusively based on Wan der Waals forces connected to its surface, without having
to apply pressure. Its reversibility is equally ensured by low peeling: it’s possible to reuse it by
recycling the same tape several times, as it can be dry-removed, leaving the surface without
residue.

It is an innovative material, known to the scientific literature, but up to now, rarely applied in the
field of cultural heritage. The research carried out in the scientific laboratories of ISCR (Istituto
Superiore per la Conservazione e il Restauro) in Rome has allowed to increase the knowledge on
the material, with particular attention to:
• mechanical behavior to define deformability and breaking load even under hygrometric stress,
• optical properties (transparency, gloss, color values),
• stability to ultraviolet radiation through colorimetric tests performed before and after aging,
• resistance to organic solvents, also studied by optical microscope observation in a light field and in polarized light.

The mechanical behavior of Gecko® Nanoplast has been tested on severely deteriorated
photographic negatives samples, dating back to the sixties and made of cellulose triacetate (CTA)
with emulsion. The tape has been used as a reinforcement on cuts and as a perimeter adhesive of
holes inserts on various plastic materials (PP, PET, PVC, CA).

Gecko® opacity does not allow application on surfaces because, due to its not complete
transparency, it alters the color of the material on which it is applied. Ageing tests on climatic
chamber, however, have shown an excellent mechanical behavior for its ability to support the
movements of very hygroscopic and deformable supports such as CTA.

The research has proved that Gecko® Nanoplast is an excellent material because of its complete
compatibility with the emulsified CTA, proving also most satisfactory as a temporary auxiliary
support for the suture of the lacerations, allowing maximum safety.

Further tests carried out during the research have also suggested its possible use on other
materials, especially in case of temporary bonding on extremely fragile plastics, sensitive to
solvents or to aqueous medium, as gilding and transport of acrylic paint film on
polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA).