Robust adhesion of flower-like few-layer graphene nanoclusters.
ABSTRACT: Nanostructured surface possessing ultrahigh adhesion like "gecko foot" or "rose petal" can offer more opportunities for bionic application. We grow flower-like few-layer graphene on silicon nanocone arrays to form graphene nanoclusters, showing robust adhesion. Their contact angle (CA) is 164° with a hysteresis CA of 155° and adhesive force for a 5 μL water droplet is about 254 μN that is far larger than present reported results. We bring experimental evidences that this great adhesion depends on large-area plentiful edges of graphene nanosheets tuned by conical nanostructure and intrinsic wetting features of graphene. Such new hierarchical few-layer graphene nanostructure provides a feasible strategy to understand the ultra-adhesive mechanism of the "gecko effect" or "rose effect" and enhance the wettability of graphene for many practical applications.
Project description:Gecko adhesive performance increases as relative humidity increases. Two primary mechanisms can explain this result: capillary adhesion and increased contact area via material softening. Both hypotheses consider variable relative humidity, but neither fully explains the interactive effects of temperature and relative humidity on live gecko adhesion. In this study, we used live tokay geckos (Gekko gecko) and a gecko-inspired synthetic adhesive to investigate the roles of capillary adhesion and material softening on gecko adhesive performance. The results of our study suggest that both capillary adhesion and material softening contribute to overall gecko adhesion, but the relative contribution of each depends on the environmental context. Specifically, capillary adhesion dominates on hydrophilic substrates, and material softening dominates on hydrophobic substrates. At low temperature (12 °C), both capillary adhesion and material softening likely produce high adhesion across a range of relative humidity values. At high temperature (32 °C), material softening plays a dominant role in adhesive performance at an intermediate relative humidity (i.e., 70% RH).
Project description:There is a significant medical need for tough biodegradable polymer adhesives that can adapt to or recover from various mechanical deformations while remaining strongly attached to the underlying tissue. We approached this problem by using a polymer poly(glycerol-co-sebacate acrylate) and modifying the surface to mimic the nanotopography of gecko feet, which allows attachment to vertical surfaces. Translation of existing gecko-inspired adhesives for medical applications is complex, as multiple parameters must be optimized, including: biocompatibility, biodegradation, strong adhesive tissue bonding, as well as compliance and conformability to tissue surfaces. Ideally these adhesives would also have the ability to deliver drugs or growth factors to promote healing. As a first demonstration, we have created a gecko-inspired tissue adhesive from a biocompatible and biodegradable elastomer combined with a thin tissue-reactive biocompatible surface coating. Tissue adhesion was optimized by varying dimensions of the nanoscale pillars, including the ratio of tip diameter to pitch and the ratio of tip diameter to base diameter. Coating these nanomolded pillars of biodegradable elastomers with a thin layer of oxidized dextran significantly increased the interfacial adhesion strength on porcine intestine tissue in vitro and in the rat abdominal subfascial in vivo environment. This gecko-inspired medical adhesive may have potential applications for sealing wounds and for replacement or augmentation of sutures or staples.
Project description:Since the discovery of the mechanism of adhesion in geckos, many synthetic dry adhesives have been developed with desirable gecko-like properties such as reusability, directionality, self-cleaning ability, rough surface adhesion and high adhesive stress. However, fully exploiting these adhesives in practical applications at different length scales requires efficient scaling (i.e. with little loss in adhesion as area grows). Just as natural gecko adhesives have been used as a benchmark for synthetic materials, so can gecko adhesion systems provide a baseline for scaling efficiency. In the tokay gecko (Gekko gecko), a scaling power law has been reported relating the maximum shear stress σmax to the area A: σmax ∝ A(-1/4). We present a mechanical concept which improves upon the gecko's non-uniform load-sharing and results in a nearly even load distribution over multiple patches of gecko-inspired adhesive. We created a synthetic adhesion system incorporating this concept which shows efficient scaling across four orders of magnitude of area, yielding an improved scaling power law: σmax ∝ A(-1/50). Furthermore, we found that the synthetic adhesion system does not fail catastrophically when a simulated failure is induced on a portion of the adhesive. In a practical demonstration, the synthetic adhesion system enabled a 70 kg human to climb vertical glass with 140 cm(2) of adhesive per hand.
Project description:One of the central controversies regarding the evolution of adhesion concerns how adhesive force scales as animals change in size, either among or within species. A widely held view is that as animals become larger, the primary mechanism that enables them to climb is increasing pad area. However, prior studies show that much of the variation in maximum adhesive force remains unexplained, even when area is accounted for. We tested the hypothesis that maximum adhesive force among pad-bearing gecko species is not solely dictated by toepad area, but also depends on the ratio of toepad area to gecko adhesive system compliance in the loading direction, where compliance (C) is the change in extension (?) relative to a change in force (F) while loading a gecko's adhesive system (C = d?/dF). Geckos are well-known for their ability to climb on a range of vertical and overhanging surfaces, and range in mass from several grams to over 300 grams, yet little is understood of the factors that enable adhesion to scale with body size. We examined the maximum adhesive force of six gecko species that vary in body size (~2-100 g). We also examined changes between juveniles and adults within a single species (Phelsuma grandis). We found that maximum adhesive force and toepad area increased with increasing gecko size, and that as gecko species become larger, their adhesive systems become significantly less compliant. Additionally, our hypothesis was supported, as the best predictor of maximum adhesive force was not toepad area or compliance alone, but the ratio of toepad area to compliance. We verified this result using a synthetic "model gecko" system comprised of synthetic adhesive pads attached to a glass substrate and a synthetic tendon (mechanical spring) of finite stiffness. Our data indicate that increases in toepad area as geckos become larger cannot fully account for increased adhesive abilities, and decreased compliance must be included to explain the scaling of adhesion in animals with dry adhesion systems.
Project description:This paper describes the use of the electrostatic element of an electrostatic/gecko-like adhesive to repel dust particles, which have been shown to significantly affect adhesion and reliability. The result is a non-destructive, non-contact cleaning method that can be used in conjunction with other cleaning techniques, many of which rely on physical contact between the fibrillar adhesive and substrate. The paper focuses on experimental evaluation of the repulsion of 100 ?m glass beads as a function of wave shape, frequency, phase number and electrode direction in relation to the gecko-like features. Results show that a two-phase square wave with the lowest practically feasible frequency can remove 100 ?m glass beads from a directional gecko-like adhesive with up to 70% efficiency. Finally, using the optimized electrostatic cleaning properties, results show an approximately 25% recovery in shear stress on a rough glass for three contaminated directional gecko-like adhesives after contact with a dusty table.
Project description:We developed a simple, scalable and high-throughput method for fabrication of large-area three-dimensional rose-like microflowers with controlled size, shape and density on graphene films by femtosecond laser micromachining. The novel biomimetic microflower that composed of numerous turnup graphene nanoflakes can be fabricated by only a single femtosecond laser pulse, which is efficient enough for large-area patterning. The graphene films were composed of layer-by-layer graphene nanosheets separated by nanogaps (~10-50?nm), and graphene monolayers with an interlayer spacing of ~0.37?nm constituted each of the graphene nanosheets. This unique hierarchical layering structure of graphene films provides great possibilities for generation of tensile stress during femtosecond laser ablation to roll up the nanoflakes, which contributes to the formation of microflowers. By a simple scanning technique, patterned surfaces with controllable densities of flower patterns were obtained, which can exhibit adhesive superhydrophobicity. More importantly, this technique enables fabrication of the large-area patterned surfaces at centimeter scales in a simple and efficient way. This study not only presents new insights of ultrafast laser processing of novel graphene-based materials but also shows great promise of designing new materials combined with ultrafast laser surface patterning for future applications in functional coatings, sensors, actuators and microfluidics.
Project description:Surface microstructures in nature enable diverse and intriguing properties, from the iridescence of butterfly wings to the hydrophobicity of lotus leaves to the controllable adhesion of gecko toes. Many artificial analogues exist; however, there is a key characteristic of the natural materials that is largely absent from the synthetic versions-spatial variation. Here we show that exploiting spatial variation in the design of one class of synthetic microstructure, gecko-inspired adhesives, enables one-way friction, an intriguing property of natural gecko adhesive. When loaded along a surface in the preferred direction, our adhesive material supports forces 100 times larger than when loaded in the reverse direction, representing an asymmetry significantly larger than demonstrated in spatially uniform adhesives. Our study suggests that spatial variation has the potential to advance artificial microstructures, helping to close the gap between synthetic and natural materials.
Project description:The study of the mechanism of the controlled adhesion of geckos, which is important for the design and fabrication of bio-inspired dry and reversible adhesive surfaces, is widely discussed below the setal level. In this work, the role of the soft lamellar skin in gecko toe adhesion was experimentally revealed. The lamellar skin acting as a soft spring sustains most of the normal deformation during preloading and maintains a wide range of adhesive state rather than a repulsive state. The sequential engagement and peeling off of setal array are responsible for the reliable gecko adhesion and friction control. This soft spring supported pillar structure should be adopted in future bio-inspired adhesives design. A hybrid three-legged spring/setae clamp was developed to transfer a horizontally placed silicon wafer. It indicates the importance of integration and optimization of nanoscale structures as well as the incorporation of their unique, size-dependent properties into functional macroscale devices.
Project description:Although we now have thousands of studies focused on the nano-, micro-, and whole-animal mechanics of gecko adhesion on clean, dry substrates, we know relatively little about the effects of water on gecko adhesion. For many gecko species, however, rainfall frequently wets the natural surfaces they navigate. In an effort to begin closing this gap, we tested the adhesion of geckos on submerged substrates that vary in their wettability. When tested on a wet hydrophilic surface, geckos produced a significantly lower shear adhesive force (5.4 ± 1.33 N) compared with a dry hydrophilic surface (17.1 ± 3.93 N). In tests on an intermediate wetting surface and a hydrophobic surface, we found no difference in shear adhesion between dry and wet contact. Finally, in tests on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), we found that geckos clung significantly better to wet PTFE (8.0 ± 1.09 N) than dry PTFE (1.6 ± 0.66 N). To help explain our results, we developed models based on thermodynamic theory of adhesion for contacting surfaces in different media and found that we can predict the ratio of shear adhesion in water to that in air. Our findings provide insight into how geckos may function in wet environments and also have significant implications for the development of a synthetic gecko mimic that retains adhesion in water.
Project description:When the adhesive toe pads of geckos become wet, they become ineffective in enabling geckos to stick to substrates. This result is puzzling given that many species of gecko are endemic to tropical environments where water covered surfaces are ubiquitous. We hypothesized that geckos can recover adhesive capabilities following exposure of their toe pads to water by walking on a dry surface, similar to the active self-cleaning of dirt particles. We measured the time it took to recover maximum shear adhesion after toe pads had become wet in two groups, those that were allowed to actively walk and those that were not. Keeping in mind the importance of substrate wettability to adhesion on wet surfaces, we also tested geckos on hydrophilic glass and an intermediately wetting substrate (polymethylmethacrylate; PMMA). We found that time to maximum shear adhesion recovery did not differ in the walking groups based on substrate wettability (22.7±5.1 min on glass and 15.4±0.3 min on PMMA) but did have a significant effect in the non-walking groups (54.3±3.9 min on glass and 27.8±2.5 min on PMMA). Overall, we found that by actively walking, geckos were able to self-dry their wet toe pads and regain maximum shear adhesion significantly faster than those that did not walk. Our results highlight a unexpected property of the gecko adhesive system, the ability to actively self-dry and recover adhesive performance after being rendered dysfunctional by water.