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Mechanics of Load–Drag–Unload Contact Cleaning of Gecko-Inspired Fibrillar Adhesives

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posted on 14.10.2014, 00:00 authored by Uyiosa A. Abusomwan, Metin Sitti
Contact self-cleaning of gecko-inspired synthetic adhesives with mushroom-shaped tips has been demonstrated recently using load–drag–unload cleaning procedures similar to that of the natural animal. However, the underlying mechanics of contact cleaning has yet to be fully understood. In this work, we present a detailed experiment of contact self-cleaning that shows that rolling is the dominant mechanism of cleaning for spherical microparticle contaminants, during the load–drag–unload procedure. We also study the effect of dragging rate and normal load on the particle rolling friction. A model of spherical particle rolling on an elastomer fibrillar adhesive interface is developed and agrees well with the experimental results. This study takes us closer to determining design parameters for achieving self-cleaning fibrillar adhesives.