Two years after unveiling a gecko-inspired, reusable adhesive known as Geckskin, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have unveiled a new version that, unlike its predecessor, also works on rough surfaces like drywall and wood.
The first version
of Geckskin was only able to adhere to smooth surfaces like glass. The new-and-improved version is expected to make it suitable for a wider range of real-world applications.
"Imagine sticking your tablet on a wall to watch your favourite movie and then moving it to a new location when you want, without the need for pesky holes," said polymer science and engineering professor Al Crosby.
Unlike other gecko-like materials, Geckskin does not rely on mimicking the tiny, nanoscopic hairs found on gecko feet, but rather builds on draping adhesion, which derives from the gecko's integrated anatomical skin-tendon-bone system.
"The key to making a strong adhesive connection is to conform to a surface while still maximising stiffness," explained researcher Dan King.
In Geckskin, the researchers created this ability by combining soft elastomers and ultra-stiff fabrics such as glass or carbon fibre fabrics. By tuning the relative stiffness of these materials, they were able to optimise Geckskin for a range of applications.
When compared to the gripping ability of a Tokay gecko, King says the adhesive matched or beat the lizard on all tested surfaces.
The video below shows the researchers demonstrating the Geckskin's ability to be adhered and re-adhered to walls, wood, door frames and many many more.