It is well known that the geckos can cling to almost any surface using highly dense micro
ano fibrils found on the feet that rely on Van Der Waals forces to adhere. A few experimental and theoretical approaches have been taken to understand the adhesion mechanism of gecko feet. This work explains the building procedure of custom experimental setup to test the adhesion force over a temperature range and extends its application in space environment, potentially unsafe working condition.
This study demonstrates that these adhesive capable of switching adhesive properties not only at room environment but also over a temperature range of -160 degC to 120 degC in vacuum conditions. These conditions are similar to the condition experienced by a satellite in a space orbiting around the earth. Also, this study demonstrated various detachment and specimen patch preparation methods. The custom-made experimental setup for adhesion test can measure adhesion force in temperature and pressure controlled environment over specimen size of 1 sq. inch. A cryogenic cooling system with liquid nitrogen is used to achieve -160 degC and an electric resistive heating system are used to achieve 120 degC in controlled volume. Thermal electrodes, infrared thermopile detectors are used to record temperature at sample and pressure indicator to record vacuum condition in controlled volume. Reversibility of the switching behaviour of the specimen in controlled environment confirms its application in space and very high or very low-temperature conditions.
The experimental setup was developed using SolidWorks as a design tool, Ansys as simulation tool and the data acquisition utilizes LabVIEW available in the market today.