A novel method to increase the van der Waals adhesion of a gecko-inspired polymeric fibrillar dry adhesive through an increase of the polymer’s Hamaker constant is presented. Different metal nanoparticles (NPs) were embedded in the polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS) dry adhesive to create a nanocomposite. The successful process involved the in-situ synthesis of Au nanoparticles within the mushroom caps of the PDMS microfibrils to enhance adhesion. Successful synthesis of the Au NPs was analyzed using Ultraviolet-Visible Spectrophotometry. To quantify the adhesion enhancement, a pull-off force test was employed to compare the adhesive samples before and after the Au nanoparticles were synthesized. The experiments performed indicate an adhesion improvement of up to 2.2x as a result of the increase in the Hamaker constant of the dry adhesive mushroom caps. A model based on the Hamaker approximation to van der Waals forces is evaluated which is in good agreement with the experimental measurements.
Copyright is held by the author.
The author granted permission for the file to be printed and for the text to be copied and pasted.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Menon, Carlo
Member of collection