Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Major

Biology

Research Sponsor

Dr. Peter Niewiarowski

First Reader

Dr. Ali Dhinojwala

Second Reader

Dr. Todd Blackledge

Abstract

Gecko adhesion has been studied for years, and geckos must navigate among a variety of surfaces in their natural environment. Previous work investigating gecko adhesion on soft substrates suggested that geckos cannot stick to soft surfaces, although only one soft material was tested. This study, using tokay geckos (Gekko gecko), explored gecko adhesion on other soft substrates than those previously studied, including natural rubber, neoprene rubber, and nitrile rubber. The study found that geckos can, in fact, adhere to soft surfaces, although they stick to some better than others. To investigate these differences, the tested surfaces were characterized based on their softness and surface chemistry. Interestingly, the surface characterization data was inconclusive about any potential differences between the surfaces that would cause the adhesion variability seen. These results suggest that there are other factors behind variable adhesion forces for the different surfaces other than surface chemistry and softness.

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