Materials

Mushroom-inspired fastener is kinder and gentler than Velcro

Mushroom-inspired fastener is ...
The fastener has been attached to and removed from three types of fabric, without damaging any of them
The fastener has been attached to and removed from three types of fabric, without damaging any of them
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The fastener has been attached to and removed from three types of fabric, without damaging any of them
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The fastener has been attached to and removed from three types of fabric, without damaging any of them

The hooks in so-called "hook-and-loop" fastening materials (such as Velcro) are usually quite stiff, meaning they may damage other materials as they're pulled apart from them. Such is not the case, however, with a new mushroom-inspired alternative.

Developed at the Netherlands' Wageningen University, the experimental new 3D-printed fastener forgoes the usual stiff hooks for soft polymer structures that are shaped like tiny mushrooms. As it gets pressed against a piece of delicate fabric, the fastener's mushroom "caps" interlock with that fabric's fibers, holding the two together.

When someone tries pulling them apart, though, the mushrooms gently release the fibers – much more so than would be the case with Velcro hooks. As a result, the fabric isn't damaged, plus there isn't nearly as loud of a ripping sound.

"We wanted to prove that, if you go toward these less stiff features, they can be used to attach and detach to soft and delicate surfaces, like fabrics, without damage," says researcher Preeti Sharma, PhD. "It can be used in many applications such as for diapers or silent fasteners for military use. There is still a lot of research to be done, but the mushroom-shaped design worked quite well for soft mechanical fasteners."

The technology may even find use in foot pads for legged robots, which would allow them to walk up walls or across ceilings like geckos. In fact, the lizards actually already utilize a fairly similar mechanism for clinging to flat surfaces.

A paper on the study was recently published in the journal Biointerphases.

Source: American Institute of Physics via EurekAlert

7 comments
7 comments
j70giz
So like a fine one sided 3M DUAL LOCK™.. ;-)
Gadget
Can't see how this is new, we've been using this exact technique with 3M Dual lock on our Bodywall's for over 20 years, and in 2006 a story about it was published on New Atlas.

https://newatlas.com/the-bodywall-improves-health-for-all-age-groups/6202/

The lateral locking action of hooking the mushrooms under the special carpet fabric sustains hundreds of Kgs of force but when that lateral / sideways pressure is released you have instant vertical release making for a super safe safe exercise / training platform delivering hundreds of complex exercises. www.bodywall.com
akarp
Yeah, these researchers are overstating the accomplishment when they claim 'no observed damage'.
Username
Finally a kinder fastener, I was getting tired of being bereted by velcro.
christopher
Old News - Jesse already invented silent velcro in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_State_(film)
drBill
Fastenating! [sic] a microzipper, very cleverly created for a new product of tapes to be applied to our fabrics by chemical/physical bonds (sewn or glued). Wish I'd thought of it. Glad to see someone did.
Bud4U2
An interesting article with interesting possibilities, even if the concept has been discovered before. I'd like to know what the 'holding power' of this material is compared to velcro. Maybe it isn't as strong and therefore would be used for other purposes that would be less demanding for strength and more for just attachment to various materials in a new way.