Single macroscopic pillars as model system for bioinspired adhesives: influence of tip dimension, aspect ratio and tilt angle

The goal of our study is to better understand the design parameters of bioinspired dry adhesives inspired by geckos. For this, we fabricated single macroscopic pillars of 400µm diameter with different aspect ratios and different tip shapes, i.e. flat tips, spherical tips with different radii, and mushroom tips with different diameters. Tilt angle dependent adhesion measurements showed that although the tip shape of the pillars strongly influences the pull-off force, the pull-off strength is similar for flat and mushroom shaped tips. We found no tilt angle dependency of adhesion for spherical tip structures, and, except for high tilt angle and low preload experiments, no tilt angle effect for mushroom tip pillars. For flat tip pillars we found a strong influence of tilt angle on adhesion, which decreased linearly with increasing aspect ratio. The experiments show that for the tested aspect ratios between 1 and 5, a linear decrease of tilt angle dependency is found. The results of our studies will help to design bioinspired adhesives for application on smooth and rough surfaces.