Bioinspired Adhesive Technology from the Study of Spider Hair

Posted on 8/25/2021 7:13:44 AM By ASC

Recent research by scientists from the German University of Kiel has made a significant breakthrough into how spiders walk on walls and cross ceilings upside down without losing their adherence to the surface. The team reports that the findings they have made could impact on the direction taken in the development of bioinspired adhesive technology in the future, and could have an even greater effect once further study had been carried out. 

According to  the research team there are, however, still difficulties affecting the immediate formulation and introduction of spider hair-based adhesives by adhesive developers. These included the difficulties involved with the fabrication of nanostructures such as those spiders’ use, and the need to discover how to achieve the reliability and stability of the natural materials.

However, the team reports that these new findings could already optimize existing models for reversible and residue-free artificial adhesives. By following the principles behind the different alignments and shapes of adhesive contacts exhibited in the spider’s attachment system, the team reports the information gathered could be used to improve the attachment ability of bioinspired materials to a broader range of substrates with different properties.

By studying samples of the setae (hairs) on a Cupiennius spider, the researchers found that the adhesion forces of the tiny hairs on the feet of  wandering spiders differed from hair to hair, and different hairs also had varied relation to different substrates. Some, they report, adhere best to certain substrates because of the low angle they have with it, while other hairs have angles that are almost perpendicular.