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Scientists outsmart nature by building super liquid-repellent dry adhesives

PITTSBURGH, April 30, 2020 – A specific fibril tip shape design is the key to achieving elastic dry fibril adhesives with super liquid repellency. This new bioinspired material opens up many possibilities for use, as it prevents any form of liquid droplet or layer from hindering or degrading its adhesion.

Stuttgart – Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart have developed a bioinspired reversible dry adhesive material that is able to repel all liquids, regardless of their surface tension. While dry adhesives have been actively studied and applied for two decades, a super liquid-repellent dry adhesive has never been achieved before.

“Our material effectively repels not only water, but any liquid. Oils, for example, which easily wet surfaces due to their low surface tension, would normally spread on and between the fibrils – the fine hairs – causing them to clump together and lose adhesion. But because of the specific tip structure we have created, our fibrils can fend off all liquids, including oils,” Ville Liimatainen explains, highlighting the key feature of the adhesive. Liimatainen is a postdoctoral researcher in the Physical Intelligence Department at the MPI-IS and lead author of the publication “Liquid-Superrepellent Bioinspired Fibrillar Adhesives”, which was recently published in Advanced Materials. The senior author is Metin Sitti, a Director at MPI-IS and head of the Physical Intelligence Department. Sitti is a pioneer in the research field of gecko-inspired dry adhesives. He is also the founder of nanoGriptech Inc., a start-up that commercialized several nature-inspired dry adhesives.

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For more information about nanoGriptech and Setex™ gecko-inspired adhesives, contact Nicholas Kuhn at 412.224.2136 or nkuhn@nanogriptech.com or visit www.nanogriptech.com

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