Thesis or internship opportunity: 3D Printed Dry Adhesives for Rough Surfaces


Most conventional pressure-sensitive adhesives, such as labels and tapes, can only be used once or a limited number of times, on clean, smooth surfaces. Moreover, conventional pressure-sensitive adhesives tend to leave residues. In recent years, gecko-inspired adhesives emerged as a promising alternative, establishing a new class of pressure-sensitive adhesives that are dry, reusable, and residue-free. The key strategy in dry adhesives is the incorporation of surface structures; their adhesiveness is therefore due to their architecture rather than their chemistry.

Over the past decade, dry adhesives have generated considerable research and industrial interest. However, the current gecko-inspired structures are unable to adhere strongly to macroscopically (i.e. micrometer and millimeter length scale) rough surfaces.


In this project, you will be using a combination of nanolithographic techniques and 3D printing in order to develop and empirically test a new class of dry adhesives that are suitable for generating high grip on very rough surfaces such as textile materials.


  • Design and fabrication of adhesives structures by using a combination of nanofabrication techniques and 3D printing.
  • Characterisation of the adhesive structures (e.g., using atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy).
  • Experimental validation of adhesion and friction of the fabricated structures on a variety substrates.

The project is a collaboration between Wageningen University, Delft University of Technology and AMSYSTEMS in Eindhoven. There are multiple projects available. Focus, tasks, and location will be matched to the preference of the student.


Please write to Marleen Kamperman or Joshua Dijksman for further questions and project possibilities.