Header logo is

The effect of temperature and humidity on adhesion of a gecko-inspired adhesive: implications for the natural system

2016

Article

pi


The adhesive system of geckos has inspired hundreds of synthetic adhesives. While this system has been used relentlessly as a source of inspiration, less work has been done in reverse, where synthetics are used to test questions and hypotheses about the natural system. Here we take such an approach. We tested shear adhesion of a mushroom-tipped synthetic gecko adhesive under conditions that produced perplexing results in the natural adhesive system. Synthetic samples were tested at two temperatures (12 °C and 32 °C) and four different humidity levels (30%, 55%, 70%, and 80% RH). Surprisingly, adhesive performance of the synthetic samples matched that of living geckos, suggesting that uncontrolled parameters in the natural system, such as surface chemistry and material changes, may not be as influential in whole-animal performance as previously thought. There was one difference, however, when comparing natural and synthetic adhesive performance. At 12 °C and 80% RH, adhesion of the synthetic structures was lower than expected based on the natural system’s performance. Our approach highlights a unique opportunity for both biologists and material scientists, where new questions and hypotheses can be fueled by joint comparisons of the natural and synthetic systems, ultimately improving knowledge of both.

Author(s): Stark, Alyssa Y and Klittich, Mena R and Sitti, Metin and Niewiarowski, Peter H and Dhinojwala, Ali
Journal: Scientific Reports
Volume: 6
Pages: 30936
Year: 2016
Month: August
Day: 2
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

Department(s): Physical Intelligence
Bibtex Type: Article (article)

DOI: 10.1038/srep30936

BibTex

@article{stark2016effect,
  title = {The effect of temperature and humidity on adhesion of a gecko-inspired adhesive: implications for the natural system},
  author = {Stark, Alyssa Y and Klittich, Mena R and Sitti, Metin and Niewiarowski, Peter H and Dhinojwala, Ali},
  journal = {Scientific Reports},
  volume = {6},
  pages = {30936},
  publisher = {Nature Publishing Group},
  month = aug,
  year = {2016},
  month_numeric = {8}
}