SBIR Phase II: Prototyping Reusable Dry Adhesives based on Scalable Fiber Spinning Technologies

Period of Performance: 03/03/2015 - 02/28/2017

$733K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Akron Ascent Innovations
170 University Circle GDYR 312
Akron, OH 44325
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project presents novel technology to fabricate dry, removable, reusable adhesives based on aligned polymeric nanofibers using scalable electrospinning methodologies. This new approach offers the potential advantages of significantly lower costs and easier scale-up using nozzle-free nanofiber spinning processes. Dry reusable adhesives as a replacement for messy liquid glues will improve product safety and reduce environmental impact. Removable and reusable adhesive tapes and labels will also eliminate waste and facilitate product recycling. The resulting products will have strong shear adhesion and easy peel, leading to broad application with a wide range of substrates like glass, metal, wall board, and plastics. Proof-of-concept samples have confirmed market-driven value propositions. The Phase II project will develop commercial products and applications for consumer and industrial applications, for automotive assembly systems, for decorative wall murals, and for medical device and health care uses. Fiber spinning and collection techniques will be engineered to improve product performance, reduce costs and improve scalability of the manufacturing process. The Phase I project has confirmed proof-of-concept dry adhesive samples with shear adhesion strengths exceeding 20 N/cm2 in dynamic mode and 45 N/cm2 in dead weight mode. The resulting samples have low peel strength and are reusable. In Phase II, the electrospinning process will be optimized using novel polymer blend systems to achieve performance targets for specific customer product development. The nozzleless electrospinning process will be scaled to the pilot level for product testing and to provide the engineering design basis for commercial manufacture. A continuous roll-to-roll process to produce aligned nanofibers will break new ground in the electrospinning industry. New applications in medical devices have been proposed by strategic partners to capitalize on the self-adhesion properties of these materials. Dry adhesive applicator systems will be developed to allow the aligned adhesive nanofibers to conform to surface asperities. With the Phase I success of proof-of-concept prototypes, the Phase II effort will move the development of aligned nanofiber dry adhesives into the market introduction phase in preparation for commercial manufacture and sales.