Modeling and measurement of stiction or adhesion due to van der Waals force between microstructures and micro-gripper tools are important for contact-based manipulation and assembly of microstructures. Microfabricated structures commonly feature rough tapered curved surfaces due to undercutting and surface alterations inherent in the microfabrication processes. While several theoretical models exist for calculating adhesive forces between microstructures featuring spherical, cylindrical and flat surfaces, a model for estimating adhesive forces between microstructures featuring tapered curved surfaces is lacking in the literature. This paper presents experimentally measured values of adhesion or pull-off force between a rough tapered curved microstructure from a rough plane surface using a custom micro-cantilever beam as a force sensing mechanism. The paper also introduces an approach to estimate adhesive force between a tapered curved surface and a flat surface by considering the tapered curved surface as a frustum of a cone bound between two cylinders and using the van der Waals force model for cylinders. It is shown that the experimentally measured adhesive force values lie within the upper and lower values of the theoretically estimated van der Waals force values for the two cylinders that define the tapered curved surface geometry.

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