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Press Release 2010


Biomimic Adhesive is as Sticky as Natural Gecko's foot

Nitto Denko Develops an Extraordinary "Gecko Tape" Adhesive in a Joint R&D Program

Japan's leading diversified materials manufacturer Nitto Denko Corporation (Nitto Denko) has developed a biomimic adhesive having a shear adhesive strength like natural gecko's foot, the company announced today. The biomimic adhesive ("Gecko Tape") made of optimal carbon nanotube (CNT) array, has been developed jointly with the Nakayama Laboratory of Osaka University, led by Prof. Yoshikazu Nakayama.

The Laboratory is engaged in the development and systematization of nanoengineering for nanomaterials consisting of carbon atoms as the main element.

Geckos have an amazing shear adhesive strength (SAS)(*) to climb vertical walls and support their own weight by a single digit even from a ceiling. Many attempts around the world have been made to develop the biomimic adhesives. However, the SAS of these structures have been much lower than that of natural gecko, the improvement of SAS has been the biggest challenge in the development of man-made gecko activities.

(*) Shear Adhesive Strength is an adhesive strength that resists the parallel force in opposing directions between two flat surfaces that have been adhered together.

Nitto Denko succeeded in producing man-made Gecko Tape that showed SAS like natural gecko's foot, by preparing a fiber array with vertically oriented CNTs, and further optimizing the shape of the CNTs.

Development History

Nitto Denko supplies adhesive tapes that are being widely used in electronic, automotive, housing, and general industrial applications. Meanwhile, the application environment of adhesive tapes is expected to become increasingly complex from now on, coupled with the need to add diverse functions to the tapes. With such an outlook, and with the aim of building up the next-generation adhesive technology for meeting escalating customer needs, the company came to focus on an adhesive that can mimic the extraordinary capability which a creature in nature such as the gecko has evolved in the process of natural selection.

In year 2000, Nitto Denko scientists focused their attention on the adhesion mechanism taking advantage of the intermolecular attractive force which was clarified by Prof. Ron Fearing and his research team at the University of California, Berkeley, of the U.S.A. And as a result of analyzing the very interesting fibrous structure of the gecko feet, Nitto Denko researchers concluded that the use of CNTs would be optimal for preparing a fiber-based structure having a high aspect ration on a sub-micron order. Thus they embarked on the development of the man-made Gecko Tape utilizing CNTs.

As a result, they succeeded in coming up with an adhesive realizing an SAS close to that of the gecko, by forming a fiber-based structure with vertically oriented CNTs having optimized shapes, thereby demonstrating that the resulting adhesive is indeed a Gecko Tape material.

Gecko Tape Characteristics

1. Demonstrates an SAS close to that of geckos found in nature
2. Adhesion is strongly, but peel-off comes easy if peeling is needed
3. Adhesion surface is free of soiling
4. Adhesion is possible on any object
5. Excels in heat resistance.

L:Toepads of gecko lizard R:A PET bottle full of water is suspended with a piece of broad CNT-based adhesive tape

Future Directions

In order to meet market needs expected to become increasingly diverse, Nitto Denko is intent on pursuing the development new adhesive systems by combining together biomimetics and nanotechnologies, to come up with high value-added products and applications.

The company further hopes to tie this development into creating new adhesive tapes with functions different from conventional tapes and contributing to the "Green (Marked by environmental contribution and low environmental loading)", "Clean (new energy and energy conservation-related)" and "Fine (Advanced technologies in a domain such as life sciences)" concept that Nitto Denko Group intends to leverage in its value offers.

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