Abstract: The objective of this work is to validate an experimental method and nondimensional model for characterizing the normal adhesive response between a polyvinyl chloride based synthetic biological tissue substrate and a flat, cylindrical probe with a smooth polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surface. The adhesion response is a critical mobility design parameter of a Robotic Capsule Endoscope (RCE) using PDMS treads to provide mobility to travel through the gastrointestinal tract for diagnostic purposes. Three RCE design characteristics were chosen as input parameters for the normal adhesion testing: pre-load, dwell time and separation rate. These parameters relate to the RCE׳s cross sectional dimension, tread length, and tread speed, respectively. An inscribed central composite design (CCD) prescribed 34 different parameter configurations to be tested. The experimental adhesion response curves were nondimensionalized by the maximum stress and total displacement values for each test configuration and a mean nondimensional curve was defined with a maximum relative error of 5.6%. A mathematical model describing the adhesion behavior as a function of the maximum stress and total displacement was developed and verified. A nonlinear regression analysis was done on the maximum stress and total displacement parameters and equations were defined as a function of the RCE design parameters. The nondimensional adhesion model is able to predict the adhesion curve response of any test configuration with a mean R2 value of 0.995. Eight additional CCD studies were performed to obtain a qualitative understanding of the impact of tread contact area and synthetic material substrate stiffness on the adhesion response. These results suggest that the nondimensionalization technique for analyzing the adhesion data is sufficient for all values of probe radius and substrate stiffness within the bounds tested. This method can now be used for RCE tread design optimization given a set of environmental conditions for device operation. 

Kern, M., Ortega, J., Rentschler, M.E., "Soft Material Adhesion Characterization for In vivo Locomotion of Robotic Capsule Endoscopes: Experimental and Modeling Results," Journal of Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. 39: 257-269, 2014. 

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