A novel bioinspired switchable adhesive with three distinct adhesive states

A novel switchable adhesive, inspired by the gecko's fibrillar dry attachment system, is introduced. It consists of a patterned surface with an array of mushroom-shaped pillars having two distinct heights. The different pillar heights allow control of the pull-off force in two steps by application of a low and a high preload. For low preload, only the long pillars form contact, resulting in a low pull-off force. At higher preload, all pillars form contact, resulting in high pull-off force. Even further loading leads to buckling induced detachment of the pillars which corresponds to extremely low pull-off force. To achieve the respective samples a new fabrication method called double inking is developed, to achieve multiple-height pillar structures. The adhesion performance of the two-step switchable adhesive is analysed at varying preload and for different pillar aspect ratios and height relations. Finally, the deformation behavior of the samples is investigated by in situ monitoring.