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Inspired by suction cups of octopus, scientists have developed a new adhesive patch that works even under water, that can have various electronic and medical applications.
Researchers from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea studied suction cups used by octopuses to grip objects and prey.
They mimicked the suction cups by creating polymer sheets with cup-like dimples with soft spheres in the middle of each.
After testing differently sized dimples and spheres, they found that 50 micrometre dimples offered the best grip, which was close to that used by an octopus.
Researchers studied the these dimples under the microscope. They discovered that the secret to the octopus grip is water getting trapped beneath the sphere near the back edges of the cup, which creates a vacuum chamber when pressure is released.
The patches were able to attach and detach up to 1,000 times without the need for adhesive materials, 'Phys.Org' reported.
This makes them a much better option for skin patches, researchers said. Removing sticky patches can be painful, particularly if they have been used to cover a wound.
The researchers reported that the patch could adhere to many surfaces, both flat and curved, including skin. It stuck just as well when the skin was wet.
The vacuum also allowed the suction cup to work underwater.
The research was published in the journal Nature.