Probabilistic fastener from Wageningen University uses soft material and interlocking forces to create a strong yet gentle connection.

Benefits

  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduced noise

Applications

  • Textiles
  • Soft Robotics
  • Wound dressing

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 9: Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

The Challenge

Fasteners like Velcro® and the 3M Dual Lock™ are made of rigid materials that can create a loud ripping noise when pulled apart. They easily hook to other fabrics but do not release automatically when pulled away, which can cause damage when hooked to softer, more delicate fabrics.

Innovation Details

The researchers used 3D printing to create fasteners with a mushroom design. The fasteners have half-spherical tops and a small stem made out of flexible materials. The half-sphere provides sufficient interlocking force on fabrics to stay connected without hooking on. The material safely connects to a variety of textiles without damaging the fabric or scratching the user.

Biomimicry Story

Mushrooms have four main parts. The cap is the half-spherical part at the top, and inside the cap are the gills. The cap is connected to the stalk, also known as the stem of the mushroom, which is connected to the mycelium. All parts of the mushroom are soft and flexible.