Hook-loop fasteners are a two-faced fastening system whereby one face is covered in tiny nylon fibers with little hooks on the ends of them, and the other face is covered in tiny nylon loops. When the two faces are pressed together, some of the hooks burrow in and catch onto the loops. The tighter the two faces are pressed together, the more catches that are formed. This forms a powerful bonding system that can support great amounts of weight. You can’t pull the faces of the hook-loop fastener directly apart; rather, you must pull a few hooks and fibers apart from the one of the edges of the two-face bond. When you continue pulling, the hooks and fibers “un-catch" a few at a time, making a “ripping" sound, and the hook-loop fastener is freed.
If you said, “Hey, that sounds a little bit like Velcro!" you’d be closer to the truth than you know. That’s because it is Velcro. Velcro is a brand name – the first brand of hook-loop fastener ever. It was created by Swiss inventor George de Mestral in 1948; de Mestral received patents for it from all over the world throughout the 1950s. The name Velcro comes from adjoining two French words: velour (velvet) and crochet (hook).
Today, hook-loop fasteners are a still very widely used in shoes, clothing, cars, and more. Among the benefits of hook-loop fasteners are ease of attachment, strength of bond, ease of unfastening, and low cost of manufacture. One way in which product developers increase the strength of hook-loop fasteners is to connect the two faces at one end and thread one face through a flat pulley, such as a metal grommet in a shoe. The faces are pressed together as usual, but the pulley principle increases the number of hook-loop bonds, thus maximizing the potential of the fastener.
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