Perspective on statistical effects in the adhesion of micropatterned surfaces

Bioinspired micropatterned adhesives have attracted extensive research interest in the past two decades. In modeling the performance of these adhesives, the common assumption has been that the adhesive strength of each sub-contact is identical. Recent experiments, however, have shown that interfacial defects of different characters lead to a distribution of the adhesive strength within a fibrillar array. Based on experimental observations of detachment events, a statistical model for the distribution of the local adhesive strength and the resulting performance of a micropatterned adhesive are presented. This approach constitutes a paradigm shift, providing better understanding of micropatterned adhesives under real conditions. Examples presented include the prediction of unstable detachments in compliant systems. Future directions are discussed, including the extension of the statistical approach to non-uniform loading and rate-dependent effects, the contribution of suction to adhesion and aging of contacts over specific time periods, as well as the necessity for a more in-depth understanding of defect formation considering surface roughness and other imperfections in the system.