CORDIS - EU research results

Towards Future Interfaces With Tuneable Adhesion By Dynamic Excitation

Project description

Advanced bioinspired interfaces with tuneable adhesion based on dynamic micro-vibrations

The ability to securely grip, lift and place objects as well as or better than humans is a growing need in an increasingly automated world, with applications ranging from space exploration to robotic manipulators on factory floors. Most bioinspired adhesive interfaces have been designed with a focus on largely static, macroscopic adhesive properties. The EU-funded SURFACE project will investigate the potential of micro-vibrations to tune the adhesion strength at soft interfaces for unprecedented performance. The project will study adhesion under micro-vibration excitation using a combined numerical and experimental approach. Outcomes will elucidate and demonstrate the optimal surface topography and dynamic micro-vibration required to enhance performance beyond state of the art.


Macroscopic adhesion is of utmost importance in key technologies such as soft and climbing robots, aerospace grasping technologies, human-robot interactions, pick-and-place manipulators. Commonly, bioinspired adhesives interfaces have been characterized from a quasi-static perspective, neglecting the effect of dynamic excitations. Nevertheless, recent observations suggest that added micro-vibrations may be exploited to strongly enhance and rapidly tune macroscopic adhesion. By exploiting the multiplicative coupling between geometric- and viscoelastic vibration-induced enhancements of macroscopic adhesion, SURFACE aims at designing future soft interfaces with unprecedented and tuneable adhesion strength. To this end, I aim to: (i) develop highly efficient numerical tools for studying adhesion of patterned soft surfaces under micro-vibration excitation, (ii) unveil the coupling effect between topography and viscoelasticity that determine the interfacial strength and toughness (iii) design optimal surface topography and excitation for macroscopic adhesion tuning, by exploiting artificial intelligence models to unveil new mechanisms for adhesion enhancement, (iv) prove the adhesive performance reached, by experimentally testing high-resolution 3D printed interfaces with the desired topography and superposed micro-vibrations. So far, the adhesive performance of bioinspired patterned interfaces has been limited by manufacturing capabilities at the micro/nanoscale. SURFACE ground-breaking approach aims at exploiting dynamics excitation to outperform state-of-the-art adhesive interfaces. By exploiting artificial intelligence models, SURFACE aims at revealing new mechanisms for adhesion enhancement, which lay beyond our intuition. Rapidly tuneable strong adhesive interfaces have the potential to revolutionize cutting-edge technologies based on soft adhesive interfaces that require to move and place objects quickly and with accuracy.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 499 750,00
70126 Bari

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Sud Puglia Bari
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 499 750,00

Beneficiaries (1)