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