snail slime inspires super strong adhesive

New super strong adhesive polymer discovered

PHEMA, the new super strong adhesive polymer was come across by researchers in the University of Pennsylvania. This polymer gets its inspiration from the nature: sticky snail trails and adhesion attributes of geckos. The researchers claim the adhesive can support weight equivalent to that of a suspended adult male, even when tiny amounts, size of a postage stamp, are used.

PHEMA has benefits beyond strength

The leader of the research team Shu Yang, a professor in both the Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Departments, says that the physical properties of PHEMA are similar to those of snail slime and geckos, especially when it comes to adhesion characteristics and reversibility. However, PHEMA is a step ahead by being able to carry heavy loads unlike nature’s own adhesives which are sufficient for carrying their own light weight.

According to Yang, PHEMA is an adhesive capable of sticking to wet and rubbery surfaces. It adheres well to vertical and horizontal surfaces due to the fact that it does not shrink when dry. The adhesive polymer allows for extremely strong bonds which can be easily reversed by wetting.

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