Biomimetics, Micro-design, Arctium minus et al Hook and Velcro – A PhD and a Virtual Textbook on Biological Attachment Mechanisms and their Mimicking

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Paper 3 Conclusion


For your perusal folks – this is shit hot!

1  Conclusion

As part 3 of this series of three papers this culminates from the consideration of the results of research into five species of long shaft hook including the A. minus species, various microscopy techniques including confocal microscopy and the design of a bio-inspired model for hooked structures of the order of 200 microns span, and two further attachment mechanisms of similar size, of insect chitin.

There are limitations to what can be achieved by the pull of technology.  Excited at first by the discovery of the cubic voxel result of part 2 [2], it was soon dampened by the result that it was impossible to work with the voxels in C++.  It is hoped that this will yield further work until a proper procedure is established for the study of these attachment mechanisms at their natural scale and order of size in various materials.

The 3-dimensional model produced in Solidworks 2004 is suitable for application to fields of long-shafted hooks at a micron-size and its qualities have to be assessed in a testing/manufacturing circumstance.  It is expected that these attachments will be probabilistic and frictional in behavior.  The rate of change will vary from hook to hook as the size/shape changes and this can only effectively be measured using the new way of manufacturing the hooks through electro-deposition such that they are of the size but of a different material, thereby mimicking the scaling effects and the biological principal that guides their behaviours governing the size:volume, strength:weight, friction coefficient (m):size and other relations.  It must be remembered that the scaling effects associated with a burdock hook may not be related directly to Young’s modulus.  More important could be the shape and surface area versus frictional coefficient.  Similarly, this could apply to forces like surface tension, hygroscopic forces and others.

There are other problems to overcome before manufacturing these hooks en masse but it does point to a method of effectively producing magnetic hooks that have been used to conduct electricity commercially as well as heat.  Attachment methods are important as well as the way they all come out, which can be distorted from all shape and needs to be considered too.  Destructive testing is the only way of assessing this.

This form of data collection and transfer is regarded as another form of mathematics, of abstract and applied character. It makes the statement that all members of the set of hooks can be made under the conditions of the microscopy settings given in paper 2 of the set [2] therefore a part of the experimentation is already complete.  All that is left is manufacture and testing.  Only samples that are completely translucent are used so the intensity of the light is high and able to be differentiated from the background light.

This problem never would have been encountered had the topic been fasteners in general since a straight attachment mechanism would have been sufficiently simple to analyze and model but not manufacture either. It is the Mechanical Properties that are sought and the only way of achieving this is to make them from a new material that does not get a lot of attention these days, copper, but through the act of forced self-assembly by applied voltage, it may be possible to arrive at an alternative manufacturing technique or deposition pattern as well as alternative materials such as silicates or gold.



  1. Chris White says:

    I understand a little of this.Is the whole thing akin to types of nano-technology as well.

    • The Bioman says:

      Well – nano technology normally occurs in fluid systems. It is not a matter of mixing solids to create a small mechanical model that acts like a machine except in the loosest definition of the words. Here we are looking at a gap in technology – manufacturing items or strutures at a size range of the order of 100 microns or less, accurately. They behave differently and the vectors of the forces are unexpected. Much as in fluid you have four types of flow if you include boundary layer flow, on is reaching the space where Newtonian Mechanics does not seem to suffice….unless all the forces can be accurately defined and accounted for, perhaps. 😉

      • Chris White says:

        Thanks. So you are having to pretty much work on the boundaries of present knowledge by the sound of it. What are some of the possible practical applications ?

  2. The Bioman says:

    Well – hot off the press is the news that a method has been developed of electro-chemical deposition in layered manufacture, complex structures of copper. Now copper is widely used in sensors like strain guages cos its behaviour is so well understood and its impedance changes with strain….which leads us to New tiny sensors of complex shapes which leads us to biosensors….and flexible snsors and th Internet of Things that use the internet for analyzing and transmitting data.

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