Alfred Crosby, professor of polymer science and engineering, was recently honored with the 2019 Award for Excellence in Adhesion Science sponsored by 3M Company. It is the Adhesion Society’s premier award for outstanding achievements in scientific research relating to adhesion, including “scientific contribution that has significantly improved our understanding of the phenomenon of adhesion, or a contribution to the technology of adhesion or adhesives that has had significant impact on the adhesion/adhesives industry, and a world-wide recognition of that achievement.”
Among other contributions over the past 20 years, Crosby’s research group invented Geckskin, a new adhesive technology made of simple, inexpensive materials including a soft pad integrated into a stiff fabric that can hold up to 700 pounds on a smooth surface such as glass and is reusable. Working with Duncan Irschick, a professor in biology, the team demonstrated that Geckskin adhesive devices are based on key properties of the gecko foot, toe pad, bones and tendons, and translated them into a commercially practical technology.
Crosby’s award, announced in “Adhesion Connection,” a newsletter of the Adhesion Society based in Alexandria, Virginia, will be presented to Crosby at a ceremony in February in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He says of the honor, “This reflects the commitment and culture of our entire research group of students and postdocs since I joined the UMass faculty. I am so proud.”
Bryan Coughlin, head of the department, said, “This well-deserved award recognizes Al Crosby’s innovative and impactful research program working on bio-inspired adhesion and then developing practical implications for the discoveries made in his laboratory.”
Crosby received his B.S. in civil engineering and applied mechanics at the University of Virginia in 1996 and his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Northwestern University in 2000. He came to UMass Amherst in 2002 as an assistant professor and has published more than 110 peer-reviewed scientific publications, several book chapters, and holds 16 patents. His work has been cited more than 6,000 times in the literature.
Earlier, Crosby had received the Adhesion Society’s Outstanding Young Scientist Award for his significant contributions to the science and technology of soft materials, especially in the context of adhesion and bio-inspired materials. “He combines a drive for fundamental discovery with an instinct for timely introduction of practical, scalable concepts, resulting in very broad appeal that spans academics and industry,” the society stated.The excellence award has been given annually since 1987.