Wet adhesion and adhesive locomotion of snails on anti-adhesive non-wetting surfaces

Neil Shirtcliffe, Glen McHale, Michael Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Creating surfaces capable of resisting liquid-mediated adhesion is extremely difficult due to the strong capillary forces that exist between surfaces. Land snails use this to adhere to and traverse across almost any type of solid surface of any orientation (horizontal, vertical or inverted), texture (smooth, rough or granular) or wetting property (hydrophilic or hydrophobic) via a layer of mucus. However, the wetting properties that enable snails to generate strong temporary attachment and the effectiveness of this adhesive locomotion on modern super-slippy superhydrophobic surfaces are unclear. Here we report that snail adhesion overcomes a wide range of these microscale and nanoscale topographically structured non-stick surfaces. For the one surface which we found to be snail resistant, we show that the effect is correlated with the wetting response of the surface to a weak surfactant. Our results elucidate some critical wetting factors for the design of anti-adhesive and bio-adhesion resistant surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere36983
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2012


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