New underwater adhesive technology, based on a glue used naturally by sea creatures, could soon provide a safer adhesive option for industries ranging from biomedical to aerospace
Nature is always a constant source of inspiration for researchers. From today, a new, non-toxic, mussel-inspired super adhesive is available on the market. Mussel Polymers Inc., a startup created by Wardenclyffe Chemicals Inc., has licensed the technology patented by the Purdue Research Foundation. The technology was created by Jonathan Wilker, a professor of chemistry and materials engineering at Purdue, with students in his lab.
The material consists of poly-catechol-styrene, or PCS, a polymer that mimics the glue that mussels use in nature to attach themselves to rocks and other holds. The product is the result of a decade of research and is a real innovation in the adhesives market after many years. “We studied sea creatures, the way they stick and the design of synthetic imitations of these materials,” said Wilker. “Now we are quite excited to move these new materials from the research lab to the market.”
“Adhesive technology addresses a number of previously unsolvable wet adhesion problems in a variety of industries ranging from biomedical, aerospace, automotive, cosmetics and construction,” said Wilker. A first demonstration of the great potential is the grant received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to use this adhesive system in coral reef restoration.