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Researchers Propose Gecko-Inspired Adhesive for Underwater Robotics

Posted By ASC, Thursday, November 16, 2017

The gecko’s amazing ability to “stick” to substrates has inspired numerous adhesive technologies that will bond with substrates and then release their grip in response to temperature changes, light exposure, or magnetic fields. But this biomimicry has only been used in dry conditions so far. Now scientists say that a double-sided adhesive that works in wet conditions is feasible.

 

Researchers examined hydrogels that can contract and expand depending on pH and other variables. The development was reported in ACS' Journal of Physical Chemistry C. They were able to integrate nanostructured hydrogel fibers on an inorganic membrane. It responded to alterations in pH, providing high friction and strong adhesion at an acidic pH and switching to low friction and adhesion at high pH. By incorporating the hydrogel on both sides of the membrane, they were able to obtain a tape that could behave in different ways on either side of the membrane. The research team has posited possible uses for its discovery, and these include its potential use in underwater robotics.

 

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