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  • [June 28, 2016]

    Prof. Zhenhai Xia from University of North Texas gives an invited lecture about dynamics self-cleaning mechanism of gecko feet

  • Prof. Haifeng Yu introduces the speaker (left) and Prof. Zhenhai Xia gives the lecture (right)

    On July 27th, invited by Prof. Haifeng Yu, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Prof. Zhenhai Xia from University of North Texas, USA gave a lecture to the students on the topic of “Dynamics Self-cleaning Mechanism of Gecko Feet and Bioinspired Micromanipulators”. Many students attended the lecture.

    Xia pointed out that geckos have the extraordinary ability to keep their sticky feet from fouling while running on dusty walls and ceilings. Besides the self-cleaning ability, their feet also provide strong adhesion and easy detachment. Understanding gecko adhesion and self-cleaning mechanisms is essential for elucidating animal behaviors and rationally designing gecko-inspired devices, such as climbing robots, reusable tapes and super-grip tyres.

    After studying the attaching, detaching and walking mechanisms of this amazing animal, the team reported a unique self-cleaning mechanism possessed by the nano-pads of gecko spatula. The unique shape of nanoscale spatula pads plays a crucial role in generating robust and stable adhesion while permitting efficient self-cleaning capabilities in dynamic regimes.

    Inspired by this natural design, they fabricated micro/nano-pad-terminated artificial spatula and micromanipulators that show similar effects, and that provide a new way to manipulate microparticles in dry and aqueous environments. By simply tuning the pull-off velocity, their gecko-inspired micromanipulators, made of synthetic microfibers with graphene-decorated micro-pads, can easily pick up, transport, and drop off microparticles for precise assembling.

    The researchers believed that this work should open the door to the development of novel highly-efficient biomimetic self-cleaning adhesives, smart surfaces, MEMS, tunable micro/nano-manipulators, biomedical devices, and more.

    The audience showed great interest in the research, and asked many questions. Prof. Xia answered them accordingly.

    Prof. Xia interacts with the audience

    Prof. Xia is now a full Professor with a joint appointment in Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Department of Chemistry at the University of North Texas, USA. Professor Xia’s current research interests are focused on carbon-based materials as catalysts for clean energy conversion and storage; biological and biomimetic materials, nanomechanics, and multiscale modeling and simulation. He has published over 140 publications including two in Science and three in Nature Series. He recently received “Nanoscience Leadership Award”.