Many Tribology Group publications are Open Access thanks to funding from the EPSRC.


BibTex format

author = {Ma, S and Scaraggi, M and Yan, C and Wang, X and Gorb, S and Dini, D and Zhou, F},
doi = {10.1002/smll.201802931},
journal = {Small},
pages = {1802931--1802931},
title = {Bio-inspired 3D printed locomotion devices based on anisotropic friction},
url = {},
volume = {15},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Anisotropic friction plays a key role in natural systems, particularly for realizing the purpose of locomotion and strong attachment for the survival of organisms. Of particular interest, here, is the observation that friction anisotropy is promoted numerous times by nature, for example, by wild wheat awn for its targeted and successful seed anchorage and dispersal. Such feature is, however, not fully exploited in manmade systems, such as microbots, due to technical limitations and lack of full understanding of the mechanisms. To unravel the complex dynamics occurring in the sliding interaction between anisotropic microstructured surfaces, the friction induced by asymmetric plant microstructures is first systematically investigated. Inspired by this, anisotropic polymer microactuators with threedimensional (3D) printed microrelieves are then prepared. By varying geometric parameters, the capability of microactuators to generate strong friction anisotropy and controllable motion in remotely stretched cylindrical tubes is investigated. Advanced theoretical models are proposed to understand and predict the dynamic behavior of these synthetic systems and to shed light on the parameters and mechanisms governing their behavior. Finally, a microbot prototype is developed and cargo transportation functions are successfully realized. This research provides both indepth understanding of anisotropic friction in nature and new avenues for developing intelligent actuators and microbots.
AU - Ma,S
AU - Scaraggi,M
AU - Yan,C
AU - Wang,X
AU - Gorb,S
AU - Dini,D
AU - Zhou,F
DO - 10.1002/smll.201802931
EP - 1802931
PY - 2019///
SN - 1613-6810
SP - 1802931
TI - Bio-inspired 3D printed locomotion devices based on anisotropic friction
T2 - Small
UR -
UR -
VL - 15
ER -