Michael Wilson



My work focuses on adhesion in biological systems using spectroscopy and mechanical testing to understand the chemistry and mechanics of adhesion.


I am originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. I became interested in materials, especially ones which were not damaging to the environment. Throughout my undergraduate studies in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, I was exposed to the idea of studying natural materials as inspiration for designing new materials.

I came to the University of Akron as a PhD student in the Department of Polymer Science. It was not until hearing from professors at the university, that I was exposed to the discipline of biomimicry. Before this point, I did not know that there was a field devoted to the study of biomimicry, as I had heard about emulating natural materials piecemeal during my undergrad. The aspect of biomimicry which catches my attention is that learning from nature not only provides technological advancement, but also allows us to discover more about the world and our place in it.

PhD Projects

Influence of Substrate Modulus in Gecko Adhesion
Feb 2015 - Current

Investigating the effect of substrate softness on the clinging ability of geckos.

Quantification of Acid-Base Interactions
September 2017 - Current

Using spectroscopy to examine the strength of acid-base interactions of liquids in contact with high-energy solids and comparing with previous literature.

Adsorption of Binary Liquid Mixtures on High Energy Substrates
March 2018 - August 2018

Measuring adsorption using surface-sensitive spectroscopy and comparing with calculations from molecular interactions.


Influence of substrate modulus on gecko adhesion
13 Mar 2017
Scientific Reports

This work investigates the role of substrate softness of layered composite materials on gecko adhesion. Softness is defined on both a large length scale of the whole composite and on the short length scale of the top layer. The top layer thickness is decreased in order to investigate the relevant length scales in gecko adhesion.

Spectroscopic evidence for acid-base interaction driven interfacial segregation
11 Jan 2019
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics

This work investigates adsorption from binary mixtures on a high-energy surface using spectroscopy. The strength of interactions are individually calculated and compared to spectroscopically measured adsorption data. Agreement between the methods demonstrates the ability to measure molecular interactions and connect them to macroscopic phenomena.