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Wednesday, 29 January 2020
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Sticking like a gecko

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Adherence to rough surfaces is still an unsolved issue. Researchers look very close to geckos fibres.

Sticking like a gecko Quelle: Bellhäuser

Sticking like a gecko Quelle: Bellhäuser

The little yellow self-adhesive notes are common companions in daily office life; but they stick only to smooth surfaces such as paper, windows, mirrors or screens. Geckos, insects and spiders do even better: They stick to walls and ceilings and move along them. Hair-like fibrils covering their feet allow these animals to not only "stick" headfirst to glass and smooth surfaces but also move along walls with woodchip wallpaper due to the fact that the hair-like fibrils branch out further into even finer structures. Scientists at INM Leibniz Institute for New Materials will now reproduce such "hierarchical" structures in a new project granted recently by DFG. Basically, the principle of gecko adhesion is known. It is based on many thin hair-like structures with varying diamteres which provide a better adherence than thick structures. "At the present state of the art, it is no longer a problem to fabricate structures with only one ‘fibril size’," says Prof Eduard Arzt, INM. For this purpose, the scientists use a molding technique. A liquid polymer is filled into a template of the "fibrils", where it hardens. The finished cast is then removed from the template. The result is a surface on which "fibrils" of the same size are arranged regularly. With a new method, the scientists also seek to fabricate a branching into even finer fibrils. "The challenge is to produce a regular and narrow-spaced structure of these finest branches in the template," says the Chemical Engineer Kraus. Layer by layer, the scientists thus receive even more branched structures, starting with the thickest bristle.

related links:

The Leibniz Institute for New Materials

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