To analyze the performance of a mushroom-shaped fibrillar adhesive microstructure, its behavior was studied during different stages of attachment-loading-detachment cycle. Visualizing the evolutions of real contact area of single microfibers, it is shown that the mushroom-shaped geometry of contact elements promotes fast and simple generation of reliable adhesion. Mushroom-shaped geometry seems to transform fibrillar contact elements into passive suction devices and makes them tolerant to overload, thus enhancing their robustness and stability. These findings may also be extrapolated to biological fibrillar attachment devices sharing the same geometry.

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