Gecko’s feet are covered in millions of tiny hairs called setae which are 10 times thinner than human hair, and branch into smaller terminal spatula-shaped tips. This fibrillar micro/nano-structure gives geckos the impressive ability to climb up walls and across ceilings. A small magnitude van der Waals attractive force exists at the interface of each spatula tip in close proximity to a contacting substrate. Although the forces acting on one individual seta are small in magnitude, the cumulative adhesive effect if most hairs were simultaneously in contact with a substrate would create very strong macroscale adhesive and friction forces. Additionally, gecko's feet have the amazing ability to resist contamination, allowing for thousands of adhesive cycles with minor performance deterioration. Culminating in ten years of academic and private sector research, nanoGriptech has developed and licensed the necessary IP to produce synthetic gecko-inspired microfiber adhesives capable of satisfying a wide range of our customers’ applications.
nanoGriptech has engaged in federally- and privately-funded R&D to scale up production of our materials from the clean room to mass production volumes. We currently offer two different manufacturing options:
(1) batch printing process for custom-sized adhesive areas,
(2) incorporation of microstructured areas directly onto our customers’ 3D molded parts.
Continuous production of fiber adhesives has been demonstrated on a prototype scale, with commercial product delivery from a pilot system targeted within a year. This production process can be incorporated onto many different product backings, including textiles, plastic films, etc.
Using a custom molding method, we can embed our fiber structures to 3D surfaces of our customers’ products where the resulting parts have the adhesive, frictional, surface property, or tactile-enhancing properties of our microstructures. This technology is available today for prototyping and production.