Researchers at The University of Akron are again spinning inspiration from spider silk — this time to create more efficient and stronger commercial and biomedical adhesives that could, for example, potentially attach tendons to bones or bind fractures.
The Akron scientists created synthetic duplicates of the super-sticky, silk “attachment discs” that spiders use to attach their webs to surfaces. These discs are created when spiders pin down an underlying thread of silk with additional threads, like stiches or staples, explains Ali Dhinojwala, UA’s H.A. Morton professor of polymer science and lead researcher on the project.
This “staple-pin” geometry of the attachment disc creates a strong attachment force using little material, he adds.
Through electrospinning, a process by which an electrical charge is used to draw very fine fibers from a liquid (in this case, polyurethane), Dhinojwala and his team were able to mimic the efficient staple-pin design, pinning down an underlying nylon thread with the electrospun fibers.
“This adhesive architecture holds promise for potential applications in the area of adhesion science, particularly in the field of biomedicine where the cost of the materials is a significant constraint,” the authors write in their paper, “Synthetic Adhesive Attachment Discs Inspired by Spider’s Pyriform Silk Architecture,” published online March 1 in the Journal of Polymer Physics.
Dhinojwala adds that the design could potentially be used, in addition to medical applications, to create commercial adhesives stronger than conventional glue and tape.
“Instead of using big globs of glue, for example, we can use this unique and efficient design of threads pinning down a fiber,” he says. “The inspiration was right in front of us, in nature.”
“You can learn a lot of science from nature,” adds Dharamdeep Jain, a graduate student and co-author of the paper.
Indeed, researchers at UA have been learning quite a bit from nature’s silk-spinning artists.
Dhinojwala and Vasav Sahni, former graduate student and third co-author of the aforementioned paper, previously worked together to study the adhesive properties of spider silk; and last year Todd Blackledge, Leuchtag Endowed Chair and associate professor of biology and integrated bioscience at UA, revealed the possibilities of using silk to develop materials that are as strong as steel and yet flexible as rubber.
Story by Nicholas Nussen
Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denise Henry | Eurek Alert!
Controlling phase changes in solids
29.07.2015 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences
Smart Hydrogel Coating Creates “Stick-slip” Control of Capillary Action
28.07.2015 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.
What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...
Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.
The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...
Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.
Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight
A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...
Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.
By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...
23.07.2015 | Event News
10.07.2015 | Event News
25.06.2015 | Event News
31.07.2015 | Trade Fair News
31.07.2015 | Transportation and Logistics
31.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy