Journal of Bionic Engineering

, Volume 5, Supplement 1, pp 98–105 | Cite as

A Point-Wise Model of Adhesion Suitable for Real-Time Applications of Bio-Inspired Climbing Robots

  • I. Pretto
  • S. Ruffieux
  • C. MenonEmail author
  • A. J. Ijspeert
  • S. Cocuzza


Bio-inspired climbing robots relying on adhesion systems are believed to become essential tools for several industrial applications in the near future. In recent years, research has mainly focused on modeling micro-scale adhesion phenomena; a macro-scale adhesion model has however to be developed for the design of macro-scale systems. In this paper a macro-model of adhesion suitable for real-time applications is presented; it relies on a continuous representation of adhesion. An extension of the von Mises criterion is proposed as failure adhesion criterion in order to estimate the occurrence of detachment at any point of the contacting surface. An experimental set up has been designed in order to define the parameters of the model. A semi-automatic process has been developed to ensure repeatability and accuracy of the results. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which has revealed promising adhesive features for robotic use, has been used during the experimental phase. The macro-model of adhesion has been implemented in a multi-body dynamics environment based on Open Dynamics Engine (ODE) to simulate a spider-inspired robot. Simulations based on this model are suitable to represent the behaviour of climbing robots and also to optimize their design.


modeling macro-scale climbing robots simulation PDMS adhesion failure criterion 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    Saranli U, Buehler M, Koditschek D E. RHex: A simple and highly mobile hexapod robot. International Journal of Robotics Research, 2001, 20, 616–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    Cham J G, Bailey S A, Clark J E, Full R J, Cutkosky M R. Fast and robust: Hexapedal robots via shape deposition manufacturing. International Journal of Robotics Research, 2002, 21, 869–882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Zhang H, Zhang J, Zong G. Realization of a service climbing robot for glass-wall cleaning. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, Shenyang, China, 2004, 395–400.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Xu Z L, Ma P S. A wall-climbing robot for labelling scale of oil tank’s volume. Robotica, 2002, 20, 209–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Gasparetto A, Vidoni R, Seidl T. Attaching Mechanisms and Strategies Inspired by the Spiders’ Leg. European Space Agency, the Advanced Concepts Team, Ariadna Final Report (06/6201), 2008.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Menon C, Li Y, Sameoto D, Martens C. Abigaille-I: Towards the development of a spider-inspired climbing robot for space use. International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, Scottsdale, USA, 2008.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    La Rosa G, Messina M, Muscato G, Sinatra R. A low-cost lightweight climbing robot for the inspection of vertical surfaces. Mechatronics, 2002, 12, 71–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    Wei T E, Quinn R D, Ritzmann R E. A robot designed for walking and climbing based on abstracted cockroach locomotion mechanims. Proceedings of IEEE/A SME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics, Monterey, USA, 2005, 1471–1476.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Autumn K, Peattie A M. Mechanims of adhesion in geckos. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 2002, 42, 1081–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Autumn K, Dittmore A, Santos D, Spenko M, Cutkosky M. Frictional adhesion: A new angle on gecko attachment. Experimental Biology, 2006, 209, 3569–3579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Autumn K, Hsieh S T, Dudek D M, Chen J, Chitaphan C, Full R J. Dynamics of geckos running vertically. Experimental Biology, 2006, 209, 260–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Sameoto D, Li Y, Menon C. Micromask generation for polymer morphology control: Nanohair fabrication for synthetic dry adhesives. International Conferences on Smart Materials Structures Systems, Acireale, Italy, 2008.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    Kendall K. Thin-film peeling - The elastic term. Journal of Physics D: Apllied Physics, 1975, 8, 1449–1452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    Pugno N M. Towards a Spiderman suit: Large invisible cables and self-cleaning releasable superadhesive materials. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 2007, 19, 395001.Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    Johnson K.L, Kendall K, Roberts A D. Surface energy and the contact of elastic solids. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A, 1971, 324, 301–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    Yao H, Gao H. Mechanics of robust and releasable adhesion in biology: Bottom-up designed hierarchical structures of gecko. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 2006, 54, 1120–1146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    Dean G, Crocker L, Read D, Wright L. Prediction of deformation and failure of rubber-toughened adhesive joints. International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 2004, 24, 295–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    Feih S, Shercliff H R. Adhesive and composite failure prediction of single-L joint structures under tensile loading. International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 2005, 25, 47–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Kim T W, Bhushan B. Optimization of biomimetic attachment system contacting with rough surface. Journal of Vacuum Science Technology, 2007, 4, 1003–1012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    Gravish N, Wilkinson M, Autumn K. Frictional and elastic energy in gecko adhesive detachment. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2008, 5, 339–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    Shan J, Mei T, Ni L, Chen S, Chu J. Fabrication and adhesive force analysis of biomimetic gecko foot-hair array. The 1st IEEE Internatinal Conference on Nano/Micro Engineered and Molecular Systems, Zhuhai China, 2006, 1546–1549.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    von Mises R. Mechanik der festen Körper im plastisch-deformablen Zustand. Nachrichten von der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaten zu Göttingen, Mathematisch-Physikalische Klasse, 1913, 1, 582–592.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    Dow Corning. Sylgard 184 Silicone Elastomer Kit,[2008-07-01],
  24. [24]
    Armani D, Liu C. Re-configurable fluid circuits by PDMS elastomer micromachining. The 12th International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, Orlando, USA, 1998, 222–227.Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    Michel O. Webots TM: Professional mobile robot simulation. International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, 2004, 1, 39–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. [26]
    Russell S. Open Dynamic Engine (ODE): Open source and high performance library for simulating rigid body dynamics, [2008-07-01],

Copyright information

© Jilin University 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Pretto
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Ruffieux
    • 1
    • 3
  • C. Menon
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. J. Ijspeert
    • 3
  • S. Cocuzza
    • 2
  1. 1.Menrva Group, School of Engineering ScienceSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.CISAS “G. Colombo” Center of Studies and Activities for SpaceUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly
  3. 3.Biologically-Inspired Research GroupEcole Polytechnique Federale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations