Feathers May Provide the Next Big Inspiration For Aerospace Adhesives

Posted on 2/20/2019 8:16:00 AM By ASC

When you pick up a feather and play with it, you are sure to be fascinated by the way in which its barbs fit together, often springing back into place even after you have pulled them apart. Now, University of California San Diego researchers say that the properties of feathers could point the way towards new aerospace materials and adhesives. 

The research team used a 3D printer to create structures similar to the vanes, barbs and barbules that make up birds’ feathers, examining the way in which they capture and block air and knit together. The spacing of barbules, 8 to 16 micrometers apart regardless of bird species, leads the team to believe that this spacing is important to flight and may have relevance to the development of Velcro-like materials for the aerospace industry. An interlocking one-directional adhesive or an adhesive with directional permeability could result from the study’s findings.


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