All adhesives in widespread use today can be considered “wet” adhesives. These materials are typically applied to a surface in a liquid state and achieve intimate contact by flowing along the surface and wetting surface asperities. To be an effective adhesive, the liquid must be transformed into a solid with high cohesive strength through either a chemical reaction (crosslinking), or in the case of hot melts, by cooling below the melting temperature.
In the 1660’s and 1670’s, Robert Hooke proposed that silk could be produced artificially, coined the term “cell”, provided the first mechanics equation around the deformation of springs, claimed that light is a wave, worked as a leading architect in London, proposed that life can evolve and become extinct, suggested that air is made of particles, and contributed to the first planned city structure, all while nursing a bitter feud with Newton, Huygens, and many of the scientific establishment of the day.
In 1600, William Gilbert invented the electroscope, described the distortion of liquids near electrostatic charge, demonstrated that electricity and magnetism are separate forces, coined the term elektrik and elektrik force, and showed that the Earth is a magnet, all before succumbing to the Black Death.
Dry adhesion has been a topic of significant academic and industrial interest since the early 2000’s, and a number of different approaches have been explored to create commercial products. Despite an immense effort and a number of extremely impressive academic reports, little progress has been made outside of laboratories due to challenges in the scalability of the approaches. One of the major value propositions of AAI’s approach is the use of a manufacturing approach that is already well known and established: electrospinning. Although it may not be quite a household word yet, electrospinning has a remarkable and rich history dating to pre-industrial times.