New-and-Improved Gecko-Inspired Adhesive Sticks to More Surfaces

Posted on 5/5/2014 2:43:59 PM By ASC

GeckSkin, an adhesive based on the properties of gecko feet, first came to public attention two years ago. Since then, GeckSkin’s inventors at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, have not been sitting idle. They have recently announced a new version of gecko-inspired adhesive that is capable of sticking to rough surfaces, like plywood or drywall. Unlike other gecko-inspired adhesives, this new product does not rely on mimicking the microscopic hair-like structures, or setae, found on gecko toes. Setae are only one part of a system that allows geckos to stick to a variety of surfaces. The other key to gecko adhesion is in the interaction between their skin, bones, and tendons. This new adhesive combines a base layer of stiff material, such as carbon nanofiber, which mimics bones and tendons, while a soft layer of elastomer mimics skin. The elastomer layer creates draping adhesion by conforming to the surface structure, while the stiff layer provides tension that keeps the elastomer from letting go until the correct force is applied. The new GeckSkin can be seen in action here.