Interlocking Gecko-Inspired Microfiber/Microridge Interfaces for Flexible, High Pressure Resistant Chem Bio Closure Systems

Period of Performance: 09/12/2016 - 02/28/2017

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

nanoGriptech, Inc.
91 43rd St., Suite 200 Array
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The threat posed by the effective delivery of lethal Chem/Bio (CB) agents remains one of the key concerns in the defense against catastrophic attacks today and into the foreseeable future. There are many situations where a high pressure resistant, flexible, hermetic closure system is required to protect against such exposure. Conventional fastening options for such applications generally consist of zippers, hook and loop closures, or zip-track systems. However, these systems all include problematic drawbacks for critical applications. Among other deficiencies, zippers and hook and loop systems are inflexible, not decontaminable, and do not provide hermetic sealing for high pressure applications. Zip-track systems are difficult to install and use in field conditions, require secondary closures at the end of the track, and take on creases in storage which make them susceptible to permeation. We hypothesize that we can design and fabricate improved compliant closure systems which incorporate areas of interlocking microfiber/microridge adhesive arrays inspired by the foot-hairs found on geckos with continuous elastomeric interfaces to provide excellent sealing properties, even for high pressure applications. In this project, steps will be taken to develop, prototype, and characterize this novel family of flexible fasteners, and demonstrate their effectiveness for CB protection applications.