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Biomimetic Wet Adhesion of Viscoelastic Liquid Films Anchored on Micropatterned Elastic Substrates

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posted on 2012-10-16, 00:00 authored by Sandip Patil, Rahul Mangal, Abhinav Malasi, Ashutosh Sharma
Inspired by the natural adhesives in the toe pads of arthropods and some other animals, we explore the effectiveness and peel failure of a thin viscoelastic liquid film anchored on a micropatterned elastic surface. In particular, we focus on the role of the substrate pattern in adhesion energy of the liquid layer and in allowing its clean separation without cohesive failure. Peel tests on the microfabricated wet adhesives showed two distinct modes of adhesive (interfacial) and cohesive (liquid bulk) failures depending on the pattern dimensions. The adhesion energy of a viscoelastic liquid layer on an optimized micropatterned elastic substrate is ∼3.5 times higher than that of a control flat bilayer and ∼26 times higher than that of a viscoelastic film on a rigid substrate. Adhesive liquid layers anchored by narrow microchannels undergo clean, reversible adhesive failure rather than the cohesive failure seen on flat substrates. An increase in the channel width engenders cohesive failure in which droplets of the wet adhesive remain on the peeled surface.

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