Litoria caerulea (Photo: Julian K.A. Langowski)

Thesis subject

The attachment of tree frogs on substrates with varying surface energy

Secure and gentle grip of delicate biological tissues

With their specialised toe pads, tree frogs can attach to smooth, rough and even wet surfaces. This makes them an interesting model for the study of biological attachment mechanisms (e.g. van der Waals interactions) and for the development of novel, biomimetic surgical tools. For a better understanding of the basics of tree frog attachment, we combine experimental (force measurements, kinematics) and numerical (FEA) approaches with analyses of toe pad morphology.

Thesis content

The effect of the substrate’s surface energy on the attachment of tree frogs is unknown. You will study the influence of surface energy on adhesion and friction in the species H. cinerea and L. caerulea with a rotation table experiment. This project includes a screening for methods of surface energy modification and creation of the test surfaces. Further, you will test the sticking of the animals on these surfaces experimentally and discuss the results with respect to the basic mechanisms of attachment.

The following requirements should be fulfilled by the applicant:

-         Good knowledge in biomechanics

-         Good understanding of adhesion and friction

-         Good understanding of surface chemistry

-         Good knowledge in MS Office; experience with MATLAB is helpful

-         Basic knowledge in statistics is helpful

For questions or application (incl. CV and letter of motivation), please contact Julian Langowski.

Examiner: Prof. Dr. Ir. Johan L. van Leeuwen
Supervisors: Julian K.A. Langowski
Contact: Julian K.A. Langowski (via contact form)
Begin date: 01-09-2017 (variable)
End date: 01-02-2018 (variable)
Credits: 30 ECTS (variable)
For: MSc Biology
Requirements: See thesis description
Used skills: Experimental design, Surface chemistry, Data management, Image recording and analysis, Programming (MATLAB), Adhesion and tribology, Biomimetics, Scientific writing and presentation