Friction and adhesion of hierarchical carbon nanotube structures for biomimetic dry adhesives: multiscale modeling.
ABSTRACT With unique hierarchical fibrillar structures on their feet, gecko lizards can walk on vertical walls or even ceilings. Recent experiments have shown that strong binding along the shear direction and easy lifting in the normal direction can be achieved by forming unidirectional carbon nanotube array with laterally distributed tips similar to gecko's feet. In this study, a multiscale modeling approach was developed to analyze friction and adhesion behaviors of this hierarchical fibrillar system. Vertically aligned carbon nanotube array with laterally distributed segments at the end was simulated by coarse grained molecular dynamics. The effects of the laterally distributed segments on friction and adhesion strengths were analyzed, and further adopted as cohesive laws used in finite element analysis at device scale. The results show that the laterally distributed segments play an essential role in achieving high force anisotropy between normal and shear directions in the adhesives. Finite element analysis reveals a new friction-enhanced adhesion mechanism of the carbon nanotube array, which also exists in gecko adhesive system. The multiscale modeling provides an approach to bridge the microlevel structures of the carbon nanotube array with its macrolevel adhesive behaviors, and the predictions from this modeling give an insight into the mechanisms of gecko-mimicking dry adhesives.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Nanostructured surface possessing ultrahigh adhesion like "gecko foot" or "rose petal" can offer more opportunities for bionic application. We grow flower-like few-layer graphene on silicon nanocone arrays to form graphene nanoclusters, showing robust adhesion. Their contact angle (CA) is 164° with a hysteresis CA of 155° and adhesive force for a 5 μL water droplet is about 254 μN that is far larger than present reported results. We bring experimental evidences that this great adhesion depends on large-area plentiful edges of graphene nanosheets tuned by conical nanostructure and intrinsic wetting features of graphene. Such new hierarchical few-layer graphene nanostructure provides a feasible strategy to understand the ultra-adhesive mechanism of the "gecko effect" or "rose effect" and enhance the wettability of graphene for many practical applications.Scientific Reports 01/2012; 2:511.