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Effect of fibril shape on adhesive properties

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6 Author(s)
Soto, Daniel ; Department of Applied Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA ; Hill, Ginel ; Parness, A. ; Esparza, Noe
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Research into the gecko’s adhesive system revealed a unique architecture for adhesives using tiny hairs. By using a stiff material (β-keratin) to create a highly structured adhesive, the gecko’s system demonstrates properties not seen in traditional pressure-sensitive adhesives which use a soft, unstructured planar layer. In contrast to pressure sensitive adhesives, the gecko adhesive displays frictional adhesion, in which increased shear force allows it to withstand higher normal loads. Synthetic fibrillar adhesives have been fabricated but not all demonstrate this frictional adhesion property. Here we report the dual-axis force testing of single silicone rubber pillars from synthetic adhesive arrays. We find that the shape of the adhesive pillar dictates whether frictional adhesion or pressure-sensitive behavior is observed. This work suggests that both types of behavior can be achieved with structures much larger than gecko terminal structures. It also indicates that subtle differences in the shape of these pillars can significantly influence their properties.

Published in:

Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:97 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Aug 2010

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