In this paper, two approaches are presented to achieve switchable adhesion. The first approach is based on a patterned polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) polymer, where adhesion can be switched on and off by applying a low and a high compressive preload. The switch in adhesion is caused by a reversible mechanical instability of the adhesive silicone structures. The second approach is based on a composite material consisting of a Nickel- Titanium (NiTi) shape memory alloy and a patterned adhesive PDMS layer. The NiTi alloy is trained to change its surface topography as a function of temperature, which results in a change of the contact area and of alignment of the adhesive pattern towards a substrate, leading to switchable adhesion. These examples show that the unique properties of bio-inspired adhesives can be greatly improved by new concepts such as mechanical instability or by the use of active materials which react to external stimuli.
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