Methods for Fast and Reversible Dry Adhesion Tuning Between Composite Structures and Substrate Fields (Case 17-006)


Background - How do geckos 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.


Technology - 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.



This new technology:

•       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