Rapid and continuous regulating adhesion strength by mechanical micro-vibration

Langquan SHUI, Laibing JIA, Hangbo LI, Jiaojiao GUO, Ziyu GUO, Yilun LIU, Ze LIU, Xi CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Controlled tuning of interface adhesion is crucial to a broad range of applications, such as space technology, micro-fabrication, flexible electronics, robotics, and bio-integrated devices. Here, we show a robust and predictable method to continuously regulate interface adhesion by exciting the mechanical micro-vibration in the adhesive system perpendicular to the contact plane. An analytic model reveals the underlying mechanism of adhesion hysteresis and dynamic instability. For a typical PDMS-glass adhesion system, the apparent adhesion strength can be enhanced by 77 times or weakened to 0. Notably, the resulting adhesion switching timescale is comparable to that of geckos (15 ms), and such rapid adhesion switching can be repeated for more than 2 × 107 vibration cycles without any noticeable degradation in the adhesion performance. Our method is independent of surface microstructures and does not require a preload, representing a simple and practical way to design and control surface adhesion in relevant applications. © 2020, The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number1583
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

We thank Yongshou Liu (Northwestern Polytechnical University, People’s Republic of China) for providing the laser displacement measurement system. We also thank Liangliang Zhu (Northwest University, People’s Republic of China), Xiangbiao Liao (Columbia University, USA), and Chao Lu (Columbia University, USA) for scientific discussions. We acknowledge supports from the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (413000094), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFB0700300), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 11602175, 11632009, 11672247, 11872302, and 11902226), and the Key Research and Development Program of Shaanxi (2018ZDXM-GY-131).


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