Directional Adhesive Structures for Controlled Climbing on Smooth Vertical Surfaces

TitleDirectional Adhesive Structures for Controlled Climbing on Smooth Vertical Surfaces
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsSantos, D., S. Kim, M. Spenko, A. Parness, and M. R. Cutkosky
Conference NameRobotics and Automation, 2007 IEEE International Conference on
Date Published04/2007
Conference LocationRoma, Italy
ISBN Number1-4244-0601-3
Accession Number9506311

Recent biological research suggests that reliable, agile climbing on smooth vertical surfaces requires controllable adhesion. In nature, geckos control adhesion by properly loading the compliant adhesive structures on their toes. These strongly anisotropic dry adhesive structures produce large frictional and adhesive forces when subjected to certain force/motion trajectories. Smooth detachment is obtained by simply reversing these trajectories. Each toe's hierarchical structure facilitates intimate conformation to the climbing surface resulting in a balanced stress distribution across the entire adhesive area. By controlling the internal forces among feet, the gecko can achieve the loading conditions necessary to generate the desired amount of adhesion. The same principles have been applied to the design and manufacture of feet for a climbing robot. The manufacturing process of these directional polymer stalks is detailed along with test results comparing them to conventional adhesives