Geckskin differentiates itself from any known fastener, closure, or sealant technology. Bio-inspired by the gecko, Geckskin devices are unique in their shear to peel ratio: high shear strength and low peel strength. The Geckskin technology is a union of polymer science and biology; it is a union of mathematics and a gecko’s anatomy. Geckskin is a technology, not a material. A Geckskin device can be made from an array of materials to address an application. Geckskin technology uses no nano or micro structures. We make Geckskin devices using commercially available materials on commercial manufacturing equipment.
An important note on load-bearing Geckskin devices
In order for any adhesive to hold weight, there has to be a structure to bear that load. For the Geckskin technology that structure is what is bio-inspired by the gecko. Here’s a quote from our scientific founder, Al Crosby, “the UMass teams determined we have to distribute forces, focus them where we want and use mathematical principles to control structures to achieve the desired result”. Please see the diagram below.
Technology Bio-inspired by Gecko's Foot
“In the Geckskin technology, the pad does not directly replicate the complex hierarchy, including setae and spatula, of the gecko. Rather, the Geckskin technology pad uses molecular structure and geometry to enable intimate contact at micron and sub-micron size scales and the development of Van der Waals’ bonds.”
It’s a Science of Materials and Biology
A Geckskin device, unlike all of the other Gecko-like research-based products implements a systemic approach to the forces behind grip and peel, and load-bearing devices that animals have utilized for eons. Geckskin technology does employ the use of van der Waals forces but differently from tape, which also uses the same forces.
Using fundamental mathematical equations Geckskin is bio-inspired by the gecko anatomy: mathematics + anatomy = mechanical design. The foundational patents that define Geckskin address the mechanical properties and interaction among and between materials. This approach gives rise to the ability to develop an endless array of device designs for countless applications.
Geckskin devices are made from commercially available materials, which are processed in a unique way on commercially available, mature manufacturing methods: coating & converting. Felsuma has partnered with large raw material manufacturers, coating manufacturing and converting companies to bring these products to market without a need to construct new manufacturing facilities.
Disrupting Staid, Wasteful, Damaging, Industries
Fasteners, sealants and closures (>$30B worldwide industries) are not known for their sustainability profiles. This must change. Reusability and non-damaging are not the primary objectives of tapes, glues, nails and screws. They are largely single use products many of which cause damage. Their use causes two waste streams: 1) the products after one use and 2) the materials they damage.
Realizing Our Sustainability Vision
The notion of sustainability is a vitally important but sensitive topic. It’s a word that is easily misused and exploited. We have to be careful about the claims we make about products in order to preserve the intention and value of the word. We have a vision to make ecologically friendly, environmentally sustainable products. Our products are not there yet but we’re delighted that we lead the way. We have conquered the first two challenges: reusable and non-damaging. We have embarked on the third: renewable materials.
Interactive Development Process
Geckskin is a platform technology from which Felsuma will create thousands of devices for hundreds of industries. Felsuma works with its corporate customers to identify value-added Geckskin applications that they can take to market. Felsuma designs and manufactures the component devices that will be used in their products to make them user-friendly.
Want to determine how to address your usecase? You can submit custom product inquiries here but to frame a potential project the Geckskin® Technology Development Package comes with the entire Geckskin portfolio and two direct consultation hours to scope the project for your challenge.
We rely on the fact that our customers know their customer: the need, desired user experience and value proposition. When beginning a conversation with a customer about an application, the inputs Felsuma needs to begin that conversation are:
- Relevant Substrates
- Direction of the substrates: horizontal, vertical
- Peel force
- Load bearing capacity
- Direction of the load force, e.g. parallel or perpendicular to a vertical surface
- Rigidity of the object
- Desired user experience
- Are either the surface or our device able to be cleaned
While the above parameters outline performance criteria, it’s important to learn about what a Geckskin device is not able to do, yet. To understand where our current portfolio of Geckskin devices will not work, consider a few fundamental principles:
- A Geckskin device will wear out.
- Depending on the material, any given device will last longer than another.
- Dirt will impede a device’s ability to grip.
- Depending on the material, one can clean the device’s Pad, but even cleaning will provide limited additional uses. Again, the number of cleanings and re-uses, will be dependent on the device’s materials.
- A more porous surface will be more difficult to grip.
- A Geckskin device requires sufficient surface area to establish the Grip (sufficient amount of Van der Waals forces).
- Depending on the material and the surface and when applied, the presence of water will affect performance.
- There are four variables here: material, surface, when applied, nature of water presence. Today, if one applies a Geckskin device on a smooth, flat surface (e.g. non-porous tile, glass) while the surface is dry, the subsequent presence of water (e.g. in a shower) will not disrupt the bond. But that is the limit of current devices’ water performance. Because Geckskin is a technology, not a material, we will continue to improve our performance in the presence of water.
- A Geckskin device will not grip and peel human skin or hair.
- Just like the many surfaces in your home or office, there are many types of skin on our bodies. Our scientific founders, Professors Irschick and Crosby, are working on such devices at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. If you are interested in their work in this area (research sponsorship), please contact Felsuma.
What IS Geckskin? It’s an approach to solving problems. We have solved one problem no one has EVER solved: use of commercial materials on commercial manufacturing to construct reusable, non-damaging, Grip & Peel™ devices for multiple surfaces. Whether the device holds weight, such as the GRIPHOOK™ device, or not, such as the GRIPTILE™ device, we apply the “Geckskin principles” to the device’s construct. It’s a new approach to creating user-friendly, reusable, non-damaging devices for multiple surfaces.