Electrostatic adhesion for added functionality of composite structures

Callum J C Heath, Ian P Bond, Kevin D Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
208 Downloads (Pure)


Electrostatic adhesion can be used as a means of reversible attachment. The incorporation of electrostatic adhesion into fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composite structures could provide significant value added functionality. Imparting large potential differences (~ 2 kV) across electrodes generates an attractive force, thus providing a means of attachment. This could be used as a reversible latching mechanism or as a means of controllable internal connectivity. Varying the connectivity for discrete elements of a substructure of a given design allows for control of internal load paths and moment of area of the cross section. This could facilitate variable stiffness (both in bending and torsion). Using a combination of existing fabrication techniques, functional electrodes have been integrated within a FRP. Copper polyimide thin film laminate material has been both co-cured with carbon fibre reinforced epoxy (CFRP) and bonded to PVC closed cell foam core material to provide a range of structural configurations with integrated electrodes. The ability of such integrated devices to confer variations in global bending stiffness of basic beam structures is investigated. Through the application of 4 kV across integrated electrostatic adhesive devices, a 112% increase in flexural stiffness has been demonstrated for a composite sandwich structure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number025016
Number of pages11
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Date of Acceptance: 18/12/2015


  • electrostatic adhesion
  • composite
  • functionality
  • variable stiffness


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