Velcro

DEFINITION

An adhesive of sorts, a trademark for a fastener consisting of two pieces of fabric, one with a dense layer of hooks and the other with loops, often used on outerwear, shoes, and luggage. The name comes from the combination of two French words "velour" and "crochet". Velcro works best when it is used on objects that have two sides to join; not very strongly, and need occasionally to be re-opened.Velcro was invented in 1948 by George de Mestral (1907-1990), a Swiss engineer. The idea came to him after noticing burrs sticking to his dog and to his pants legs after hikes in the Alps. The name Velcro is a registered trademark. Similar, generic manufactures often use the name "hook and loop" or "touch fasteners." Now there are hundreds of different hook and loop products and fastening systems. They range from standard fastening tapes of woven and knit construction, through custom-designed specialty fasteners featuring a range of performance characteristics, materials, sizes, and shapes.After a few months of use, Velcro can accumulate larger hairy dust and fur in the hook side, making the system less effective.The strength of a Velcro bond depends on how much surface area is in contact with the Velcro hooks. Full-body Velcro suits have been made that can hold a person to a Velcro-covered wall.When the sides are opened, the Velcro makes a telltale ripping sound. The US Army asked the Velcro corporation to develop a silent version of Velcro for use on soldiers' uniforms.Alternatives to Velcro are buttons, snaps, zippers, laces, hook-and-eye, and buckles. Other alternatives might be rubber bands, twist-ties, safety pins, and adhesive tape.Related link: The Velcro company website.

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