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Title: Survival of polymeric microstructures subjected to interrogatory touch
Polymeric arrays of microrelief structures have a range of potential applications. For example, to influence wettability, to act as biologically inspired adhesives, to resist biofouling, and to play a role in the “feel” of an object during tactile interaction. Here, we investigate the damage to micropillar arrays comprising pillars of different modulus, spacing, diameter, and aspect ratio due to the sliding of a silicone cast of a human finger. The goal is to determine the effect of these parameters on the types of damage observed, including adhesive failure and ploughing of material from the finger onto the array. Our experiments point to four principal conclusions [1]. Aspect ratio is the dominant parameter in determining survivability through its effect on the bending stiffness of micropillars [2]. All else equal, micropillars with larger diameter are less susceptible to breakage and collapse [3]. The spacing of pillars in the array largely determines which type of adhesive failure occurs in non-surviving arrays [4]. Elastic modulus plays an important role in survivability. Clear evidence of elastic recovery was seen in the more flexible polymer and this recovery led to more instances of pristine survivability where the stiffer polymer tended to ablate PDMS. We developed a more » simple model to describe the observed bending of micropillars, based on the quasi-static mechanics of beam-columns, that indicated they experience forces ranging from 10 −4 –10 −7 N to deflect into adhesive contact. Taken together, results obtained using our framework should inform design considerations for microstructures intended to be handled by human users. « less
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Kim, Tae-il
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National Science Foundation
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