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Switchable Dry Adhesion with Step-like Micropillars and Controllable Interfacial Contact

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posted on 04.04.2016, 00:00 by Yue Wang, Hongmiao Tian, Jinyou Shao, Dan Sameoto, Xiangming Li, Li Wang, Hong Hu, Yucheng Ding, Bingheng Lu
Dry adhesives have attracted much attention because of their repeatable and reversible attachment. Many research groups have made fruitful achievements in fabricating and designing various dry adhesives. However, most of these studies focus on imitating bioinspired geometry to achieve this smart adhesion, neglecting the contact interface control through their peeling motion. Here, we present an alternative design to achieve this switchable adhesion on the basis of controlling contact areas. This unique design includes micropillars array with large overhanging caps and a “step” located at the center line of the cap. When dragging the pillars in the direction of the upper surface of the step, the lower surface is brought into contact, rapidly yielding stronger adhesion (switched-on state). Alternatively, when dragging the pillars in the direction of the lower surface of the step, the contact areas decrease sharply, leading to weak adhesion (switched-off state). Such switchable property under strong adhesion force is exactly what many practical applications need, and the ability to achieve this property by controlling the adhesion area size presented here opens a new way to dry adhesives design.