Commercial Roofing and Construction Experts | ACS | NorCal

by Donovan Rittenbach Jr.

The Strange Story of VELCRO®

In 1941, a Swiss engineer named George de Mestral, takes his dog on a hunting trip. Little does he know it will change the course of human history and lead to the invention of one of the most important materials ever created.

When he gets back from the hunt, he finds burs in his dog’s fur. They’re hard to get out.

Really hard.

He examines them and notices their surface is covered with hooks. Over the next decade, he develops an industrial process that copies nature’s design and in 1955, he is awarded the patent for VELCRO®.

VELCRO® Changes The World

Since then, VELCRO® has found a wide range of applications. It remains one of the most versatile ways to attach one surface to another. It’s replaced shoelaces on shoes, buttons on shirts, and zippers on astronaut suits.

VELCRO’s two-part system is composed of rigid, plastic hooks on one surface and thin, wispy loops on the other. When pressed together, the hooks become entangled with the loops. The more hooks there are, the stronger their hold.

How strong?

They can hold 225 lbs per square foot, if they are double-sided hooks separated by the width of a needle, like those found in Carlisle’s RapidLock TPO roofing system.

RapidLock’s Hooks – A Closer Look

How RapidLock appears to the naked eye

100x magnification of RapidLock hooks

100x magnification of RapidLock hooks with needle tip for size reference

The Hooks Are Small, But Are They Strong?

Yes. RapidLock’s hooks and loops are strong enough to secure a sheet of TPO to a roof deck in 140 miles per hour winds, like those in the August 2020 derecho that ravaged the midwest. It’s what you would expect from a traditionally installed TPO roof, and more.

Why Would Customers Choose Rapid-Lock?

Developed in 2018 by Carlisle SynTec Systems, RapidLock is an adhesiveless system. It is perfect for installing roofs in occupied buildings like hospitals where odors are a major concern. That’s one reason our customer Sutter Health chose it for their Novato Community Hospital.

Novato Community Hospital’s new roof is a tan TPO.

Other advantages RapidLock has over regular TPO roofing systems include:

  • No application temperature restrictions – installable in winter cold
  • VOC and odor-free – perfect for apartments and hospitals, environmentally friendly
  • No time spent mixing or applying adhesive – reduced cost of application and minimized waste

De Mestral’s hunting excursion changed human history. Like most innovations, it was completely unpredictable. One thing is for certain though.

Carlisle and VELCRO® will continue to evolve, and our lives will be better for it.

Need a commercial roofing and construction expert? Call us at (925)548-9748.

Carlisle’s FleeceBACK TPO sheet is easily positioned. 

About the Author

Donovan Rittenbach Jr. is the digital marketing manager at ACS. He is a photographer, web developer and copywriter.

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