Researchers Take the Next Step Towards Adhesive That Matches the Adhesion of the Gecko’s Foot

Posted on 2/5/2018 5:54:35 PM By ASC

For decades, scientists have been seeking to emulate the adhesive properties of the gecko’s foot. Progress has been made, but up till now, the stickiness of the dry adhesives that have attempted to do this has failed to match that of the gecko’s keratin-bristled toes. Some techniques have used multiple layers of adhesive, but subsequent layers invariably damage the first one.

Now researchers, funded by the Singapore University of Technology and Design, have announced a new technique that will allow the manufacture of a super-sticky dry adhesive that can be produced in bulk. To prevent damage to the initial layer of adhesive, a sacrificial layer, which completely dissolves on application of the subsequent one, is applied. In trials, the capacity of the adhesive to repeatedly attach, detach, and reattach was tested. The new technique allowed for 50 attachments and reattachments with only a twenty percent reduction in the adhesive’s ability to form a bond. This degree of adhesion was maintained for up to 200 cycles. To demonstrate its ability to mimic gecko-like adhesion, the research team used a robot which was able to ascend a thirty-degree incline with ease thanks to the adhesive.