Octopus Tentacles Inspire Smart Adhesive

August
2016

The suction cups of sorts that cover the bottom of an octopus’ tentacles have served as inspiration for a new adhesive.

Developed by engineers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), the new material contains an array of cavities that change shape in response to heat. The adhesive could be used to aid in transfer printing of nanomaterials to make flexible electronic devices.

Although nature-inspired glues and adhesives have been made in the past, including some that mimic the toes of a gecko, the sticking power of those materials could not be easily turned on and off like that of the octopus’ tentacles.

Each cup on the bottom of an octopus’ tentacles contains a cavity whose pressure is controlled by surrounding muscles. When one group of...

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