ASP projects

Gecko vs Lotus: Super-Adhesive or Anti-adhesive Bio-inspired Nanomaterials

Several animals, such as insects, spiders and geckos have developed fascinating nano-architectures in order to maximize and control adhesion. Adhesion-prevention solutions are also suggested by nature: peculiar plant leaves, such as the famous lotus, are able to prevent insect adhesion, again thanks to nano-architectures, even if insects evolved in order to maximize adhesion. The replication of such super-adhesion or anti-adhesion mechanisms, thanks to bio-inspired nanomaterials, is a challenge of the current material science and is key for developing advanced applications, such as new super-adhesive or anti-adhesive nanomaterials. Two case studies have been considered: adhesive materials for new soles with high grip on wet surfaces (Team Gecko in collaboration with Vibram Company) and self-cleaning polystyrene for refrigerators (Team Lotus in collaboration with Indesit Company). In particular, prototypes of new soles based on macroscopic and microscopic suction cups and porous materials have been designed, developed and characterized. Complementarily, Indesit polystyrene materials have been experimentally tested and the best solution has thus been identified; moreover, a new design has been proposed thanks to numerical simulations to further increase the self-cleaning ability of the refrigerator.

Principal Academic Tutor
Nicola Pugno
Structural and Geotechnical Engineering, Politecnico di Torino

Academic Tutors
Alberto Corigliano
Structural Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Barbara Del Curto
Chemistry Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio Natta”, Politecnico di Milano

External institution
Indesit Company
Vibram SpA

External Tutors
Paolo Faraldi
Indesit Company
Antonello Ghignone
Vibram SpA

Team members
Francesca Letizia [Team controllerand Project Communication Coordinator], Aerospace Engineering
Pietro Brambilla, Aeronautical Engineering
Jacopo De Amicis, Nuclear Engineering
Chiara Saggese, Chemical Engineering

Isabella Bertoli [Team controller], Nuclear Engineering
Anna Botto, Civil Engineering
Davide Guzzetti, Space Engineering
Stefano Larentis, Electronic Engineering
Giancarlo Soavi, Physics Engineering

Download the poster of the Project