What Connects … Bananas and Prosthetic Limbs?

prosthetic-limbs1. A discarded banana peel is extremely slippery. The friction between the peel and a smooth floor is six times lower than between the floor and your shoe.

2. The slipperiness comes from the follicle cells on the inside of the peel. When they are crushed underfoot, they release a polysaccharide gel between the floor and the peel.

3. This gel is so slippery, it is actually a better lubricant than the oil used in metal bearings. It’s only slightly less slippery than a ski on snow!

4. Polysaccharide gels are also found in the membranes covering our bones at the joints. Research into banana peel slip-ups is helping to improve the design of joints in prosthetic limbs.