Many biological attachment devices ofinsects, spiders and geckos consist of arrays of hairs (setae), which are terminated by contact elements of different shapes.However, the most frequently observed shape is a thin plate-like spatula. In spite of a rather wide range of sizes, most spatulae of different animals are not uniform, but rather possess a gradient in thickness and width. Here we showthat the spatulae of insects and geckos become gradually thinner and wider approachingthe end. This geometrical effect is explained in the present paper, by using a numerical approach for the modelling of the van der Waals adhesion and friction between the contact elements and the substrate. Theapproach suggests that the observed negative thickness gradient contributes to the improvement of the adhesion resistance, whereas the positive width gradient increases the stability of the detachment, probably a key factor in controlling the animal walking.
|Numero di pagine||7|
|Rivista||International Journal of Fracture|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2011|
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