Holding tight when it gets rough - From animal attachment in aquatic flow environments to bio-inspired design
In the marine intertidal or swift-running waters, flow forces reach extreme magnitudes. Moreover, aquatic substrates are smooth to extremely rough and often covered with slippery biofilm. Benthic animals have evolutionary developed various attachment strategies to deal with these challenging conditions. Suction cups are one of these and allow strong, but reversible attachment. While manmade suction cups only stick to smooth surfaces, the Northern clingfish’s suction cup works perfectly on rough surfaces. Inspired by the clingfish, we developed technical suction cups with the clingfish®-effect -the ability to stick to rough surfaces-, which are applied in industrial processing, sports, or animal tagging.