HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Rome, Italy or Virtually from your home or work.

4th Edition of Euro-Global Conference on Biotechnology and Bioengineering

September 19-21 | Hybrid Event

September 19-21, 2024 | Rome, Italy
ECBB 2024

Experimental measurement of three-dimensional responses of marine mussel plaques anchoring to wet substrates under directional tensions

Yingwei Hou, Speaker at Biotechnology Conferences
Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
Title: Experimental measurement of three-dimensional responses of marine mussel plaques anchoring to wet substrates under directional tensions


The adhesive structures of marine mussel plaques have attracted significant attention owing to their remarkable adhesive properties. In this paper, we experimentally investigated the three-dimensional (3D) responses of marine mussel plaques anchoring to wet polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates under directional tensions (15°,45° and 90°). We employed a novel traction force microscopy system based on 3D digital image correlation to measure 3D displacements and force distributions at the interface between the PDMS substrates and mussel plaques under aqueous environment. The results show that both the displacement and the traction forces at an interface concentrated at the projection of the mussel thread on the substrate and distributed along the pulling directions. For 90° tension, debonding at the interface initiated at the location underneath the thread; the traction forces at the interface kept increasing until catastrophic failure occurred when the debonding propagated to the boundary of the mussel plaque. The experimental findings were compared with full scale 3D finite element simulations, in which cohesive elements were employed to model the interfacial behaviours. The comparison suggests that the adhesive model might not accurately explain the traction force distribution and debonding process. Other effects such as suction might take place and therefore a modified model combining adhesive and suction mechanisms need to be developed

Audience Take Away Notes:

  • The 3D distributions of displacements and traction forces at the interfaces between a substrate and a mussel plaque
  • The adhesive mechanisms of marine mussel plaques under directional tensions
  • A novel traction microscopy technique based on 3D digital image correlation which can accurately measure the 3D distribution of displacements force distribution in an aqueous environment
  • Potential design and applications of bio-inspired adhesives structure
  • This will help the audience develop adhesion solutions from biomimicry
  • Yes, the experimental method described in the presentation can be expanded to characterize interfacial behaviors in an aqueous environment
  • Yes, our research method provides a practical solution to analysis the traction forces at wet adhesions
  • Yes, it assists the design of innovative bioinspired adhesive materials with applications in fields such as medical adhesives, underwater technologies, and industrial bonding


Dr. Hou obtained his PhD degree in the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London in 2022 and then he worked at Bath University as a research assistant. He is currently working at Queen Mary, University of London as a post-doctoral research associate. Yingwei’s research specializes in materials, experimental characterization, and numerical simulation.