Adhesive from Kiel University has mushroom-shaped micro-structures on its surface that firmly stick to surfaces without causing damage.


  • Strong
  • Tunable
  • Reversible


  • Robotics
  • Electronics
  • Medical treatment

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 9: Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

  • Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption

The Challenge

Adhesives are used in many industries and are essential to everyday life. However, traditional adhesives are single-use and often leave a sticky residue once removed. Additionally, many adhesives quickly lose their effectiveness when wet.

Innovation Details

The adhesive is a silicone elastomer with mushroom-shaped micro-structures on the surface treated with plasma. The mushroom-shaped structure is concave at the surface, adhering only along the rim. The plasma treatment creates higher surface energies and increases the material’s longevity. The adhesive can be removed from the surface without leaving a residue or causing damage.

Biomimicry Story

Similar to geckos, leaf beetles have sticky feet that enable them to climb a variety of surfaces. Their toe pads are covered in millions of small mushroom-shaped projections called setae. The setae stick to surfaces via van der Waals forces that occur between all molecules. Although these forces are individually weak, the high surface area of the combined setae causes the forces to add up, enabling leaf beetles to defy gravity.