Fabrication of Microfibrillar Material


  • Shane Terry
  • Matthew Powelson


On a microscopic scale, geckos have numerous setae extrusions extending from their footpads allowing them to climb particularly smooth surfaces. These hairlike structures are the working basis for directional dry adhesives. This adhesive is desired for applications such as climbing robots for its ability to adhere to many types of dry smooth surfaces. The current primary method for producing this material is through photolithography. This poster focuses on a micromachining-based process that is economical compared to the photolithographic process and utilizes precise movements in the XY plane in which to cut negative features out of a material with a thin rotating disc into the desired shape. These recesses are then filled with a silicone elastomer and cast to produce a directional dry adhesive. The process proposed in this paper is far less expensive than the traditional photolithographic process that was used to obtain similar features. The micromachining based process produces a controllable-shear-based adhesive where normal adhesion increases when loaded parallel to the plane.