Methods for Fast and Reversible Dry Adhesion Tuning Between Composite Structures and Substrate Fields




How do geckoes and even Spiderman climb up walls? They use a process call dry adhesion. This process is not only useful for climbing walls but also has potential applications in robotics such as pick-and-release robotic manipulators and climbing robots. Further, it is also useful in manufacturing for transfer printing, as well as temporary adhesives.



Scientists at University of Nevada Reno and University of Pennsylvania have invented a method to actively tune the effective dry adhesion strength with a flat surface and an opposing rigid smooth surface. This method can be used for manufacturing and assembly processes where quick pick-and-release of flat, rigid and smooth objects is needed. Rigidity-tuning of one component can be achieved through low melting point alloys (LMPA), rigidity tunable elastomers, and any other material that can quickly change their stiffness in response to a stimulus. A step-by-step manufacturing procedure has been created including laser patterning. The resulting dry adhesion is completely tunable for rigid core stiffness and stress distribution close to the interface. As a consequence, the pull-off adhesive force is also dynamically tuned.



  • Avoids the need for external heating methods
  • Reduces operation time and costs associated with implementing the methods as compared to conventional methods requiring such external heating. 
  • Makes it possible to obtain dry adhesion change ratios that are greater than those obtained with conventional methods. 
  • Allows tunable and changeable dry adhesion strength (which is measured as the dry adhesion force divided by the contact area).
  • And allows dry adhesion change ratios on the order of 6 to 30, and even as high as 50.


Publication and Patent:

  • Nasab Amir Mohammadi, Sabzehzar Amin, Tatari Milad, Majidi Carmel, and Shan Wanliang. Soft Robotics. December 2017, 4(4): 411-420.
  • Provisional patent filed 2017




Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shannon Sheehan
Manager, Technology Commercialization
University of Nevada, Reno
Wanliang Shan
Kevin Turner