Robert Claus

Roughness Testing of Synthetic Adhesives

Over the last decade there has been increasing interest in how geckos can walk on vertical and even inverted surfaces. It has been found that they do so with tiny fibers on their feet which bend to adapt to and stick to surfaces. While the basic principles behind this have been studied and replicated on smooth surfaces with very simple fibers, geckos employ complicated fiber structures to adapt to more general surfaces. Due to the complicated nature of the real fibers, research on replicating them fully is progressing slowly. My research is on how different properties of the surfaces being adhered to affect the performance of the synthetic gecko materials. This will reveal what properties of the real gecko fibers are most significant, and establish a method for testing complicated structures against each other. This will prove useful as increasingly complex synthetic fibers are developed.

Message to Sponsor

The SURF/Rose Hills program gives me an opportunity to explore research and get a taste for what academia is really about. The hardest question I've been asked as an undergraduate is what my plans are after I graduate. SURF is giving me a glimpse of what research in graduate school would be like. Starting with my SURF experience I will be able to make a more informed decision about whether pursuing a graduate degree is right for me and is therefore helping me to make one of the most important decisions in my life.
  • Major: Chemical Engineering
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Roya Maboudian, Chemical Engineering