Mussel Mimetic Adhesives

Courtney L Jenkins, Purdue University


Very few people spend their days thinking about the glue that holds their lives together, yet we are constantly surrounded by adhesives. The car you drive, the walls of the building around you, the chair you are sitting in and even the shoes on your feet are all held together at least in part by glue. In fact, there are ~9 billion kg of adhesives produced annually in the United States alone. The adhesives market has been dominated by a few classes of adhesives. Some of these include familiar products such as cyanoacrylates (i.e., Super Glue) and polyurethanes (i.e., Gorilla Glue), but there are also others used in the production of commercial goods that many people do not normally think about. The most common include epoxy and phenol formaldehyde resins (i.e., Resol and Novolac). Each of these materials utilizes different types of chemistry. Although these glues have demonstrated the ability to bind various substrates, they are typically petroleum based and permanent meaning the materials they bind together cannot be reused or recycled. They have other limitations as well including the inability to bind wet substrates limiting their use for biomedical and marine applications. In recent years, a new class of biomimetic polymers has emerged that may provide alternative bonding solutions to overcome these obstacles.




Wilker, Purdue University.

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