A releasable fastening system for retaining two surfaces at each other or disengaging the two surfaces from each other comprises a first electrode disposed at a first surface, a second electrode disposed at a second surface, and a polymer film disposed between the first and second electrode, and an electrolyte disposed in electrical communication with the first electrode, the polymer film, and the second electrode. A volume of the polymer film is controllably variable to cause the retention of the first surface at the second surface. A method of releasably fastening adjacently-positioned surfaces comprises disposing a first electrode at a first surface, disposing a second electrode at a second surface, and increasing the volume of an electrolyte disposed in electrical communication with the first electrode and the second electrode to cause the retention of the first surface at the second surface.
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