Draping Materials: Enabling Advanced Adhesives and Multifunctional Technologies (A.J. Crosby, UMass)


Draping Materials: Enabling Advanced Adhesives and Multifunctional Technologies

Prof. Alfred J. Crosby

University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Many materials in Nature demonstrate a unique ability to gently conform to complex topology while maintaining extreme robustness in mechanical strength. In a similar fashion, one of the oldest forms of synthetic materials, fabric, displays the same balance of properties that are virtually unmatched in any other mass-produced continuous material. Key to the presentation of such properties is the creation of materials with structural hierarchy, discretized combinations of lengths and angles, and interactions between flexible, yet stiff, components that permit rotational freedom. Although the use of fabric and fibers in technological solutions is not new, recent demands for new material functionality combined with lessons learned from inspirational biological examples have led to new questions and opportunities for furthering our understanding and guided-development of fabric-like materials. In this presentation, we describe the development of a gecko-inspired adhesive material, called Geckskin™, which can sustain large forces, permit easy release, and be reused without loss in performance. Building upon a scaling design principle, we demonstrate how the same balance of materials properties and geometry that controls draping leads to a unique set of interfacial properties. Furthermore, this link provides new understanding of how adhesion-based locomotion has developed in organisms ranging from insects to large lizards. We finish by highlighting recent efforts to assemble tailored nanoparticles into materials structures that possess fabric-inspired attributes on both sub-10nm as well as multi-centimeter length scales. These structures represent a new materials paradigm, possessing the functionality of inorganic cores with unique nanoscale properties combined with macroscale properties similar to fabric. Overall, these stories will provide insight into how we think as a group and learn from Nature, without losing focus on the importance of fundamental materials principles and engineering design.

Speaker Background

Prof. Crosby is a Professor in the Polymer Science & Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Crosby received his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Virginia in 1996 and his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University in 2000. He was awarded a National Research Council Research Fellowship in 2000 to conduct his postdoctoral research in the Polymers Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 2002, he joined the faculty at UMass and has received many awards for his research, including the NSF CAREER Award, the ARO Young Investigator Award, the Adhesion Society Outstanding Young Scientist Award, the Rohm & Haas New Faculty Award, the ACS Rubber Division’s Sparks-Thomas Award, and the College of Natural Sciences Outstanding Research Award. His research has been covered extensively in the popular media, including Discovery Channel, Popular Science, CNET, NPR, and CNN Money, which named the Geckskin™ project one of the Top 5 Science Breakthroughs of 2012. His research interests include mechanics of hierarchical structures; polymer adhesion; biomimetic materials design; responsive surfaces and materials; elastic instabilities in polymer networks; deformation and fracture of thin films; polymer patterning; nanoparticle-polymer assemblies, and nanocomposites.


Wedesday, February 26


Michael's Restaurant at Shoreline Park

Mountain View, CA





6 PM social hour

7 PM dinner

8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration - Up to 7 days in advance of deadline $30 $15
Registration - Up to deadline $35 $20
After deadline/walk-in (Availability NOT guaranteed) $40 $25


Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register on the web page or contact:

Lothar Kleiner


phone: 650-492-9400

Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Tuesday, February 18 for early registration discount

5PM, Tuesday, February 25 for registration (or until venue has reached capacity.)

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Mahi Mahi

Chicken - Coq au Vin

Vegetarian - Athenian Pasta Primavera

You should receive confirmation of your registration; if not, please contact us again.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.