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Scientists at NTU Singapore Develop a Reusable Adhesive that Brings us One Step Closer to Spider-Man

Scientists from NTU Singapore have developed a smart, reusable adhesive more than ten times stronger than a gecko’s feet adhesion, pointing the way for development of reusable superglue and grippers capable of holding heavy weights across rough and smooth surfaces.

The NTU research team found a way to maximize the adhesion of the smart adhesives by using shape-memory polymers and designing them in the shape of hair-like fibrils. The material can stick onto surfaces and detach easily, leaving no trace, simply by using heat from a hair dryer.

Upon heating, the material turns into a soft rubber-like state that can conform and lock onto microscopic nooks and crevices. As it cools, it becomes glassy, creating extra-strong adhesive bonds due to a shape-locking effect.

By arranging a collection of these fibrils, the researchers were able to increase the weight the adhesive can hold. The smart adhesive can support the weight of a human person, opening new possibilities for robotic grippers that allow humans to scale walls effortlessly, or climbing robots that can cling onto ceilings for survey or repair applications. 

To learn more, visit www.ntu.edu.sg

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