Adhesive material based upon insect feet
Mushroom-shaped microhairs are the secret of a new adhesive material which scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart have developed. Inspired by the soles of beetles' feet, and therefore biomimetic, the special surface structure of the material allows it to stick to smooth walls without any adhesives. Potential applications range from reusable adhesive tape to shoe soles for climbing robots and are therefore of considerable relevance to technology (Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 17 October 2006).Scientists have now taken a big step forwards in copying the biological adhesive mechanism. They have developed a material with a biomimetic microstructure that exhibits excellent adhesive qualities, basing it on investigations of the foot soles of several types of beetle. Their particularly strong adhesive force is the result of very small, specially shaped hairs reminiscent of tiny mushrooms.
Source: mpg.deAdded: 5 January 2007