Bio-Inspired Dry Adhesives
Agency / Branch:
DOD / CBD
A new generation of bio-inspired adhesives is under development for controlling the face-seal leakage in respirator masks. While conventional pressure-sensitive adhesives rely on liquid-like fluidity under pressure to adapt to surface roughness, biological adhesion mechanisms employed by gecko, spider and insects rely upon the compliance of a fibrillar array to accommodate surface roughness for magnifying molecular-scale contacts. The fibrillar nature of biological adhesives distinguishes them from conventional pressure-sensitive adhesives in terms of adhesion to wet surfaces via capillary action, self-cleaning, stability under repeated use and in severe conditions, the ability to accommodate facial hair, dirt and skin irregularities, and removability. Bio-inspired adhesives, however, cannot match some key qualities of pressure-sensitive adhesives, including ductility and energy absorption capacity (reliability and immunity to excess size effect), density of the interface (sealing qualities), and accommodation of local (sub-micron-scale) roughness (adhesion capacity). Our approach makes complementary use of patterned bio-inspired adhesives and highly stable variations of pressure-sensitive adhesives to combine their corresponding advantages in a new generation of bio-inspired adhesives. The integrated theoretical/experimental work of Phase I project verified the balanced qualities and the commercial promise of the new bio-inspired adhesives. The proposed Phase II project will build upon the Phase I accomplishments towards full development and optimization of the new bio-inspired adhesives, their integration into the peripheral seal of full-facepiece respirator masks, thorough evaluation of the corresponding benefits to the face-seal leak resistance of respirators, and assessment of the commercial potential of the technology in application to respirator masks and also in other fields of application.
Small Business Information at Submission:
3927 Dobie Road Okemos, MI 48864
Number of Employees: