Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Spiders spin possible solution to 'sticky' problems

19.05.2014

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.


This spider is an Achaearanea tepidariorum.

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.

Biomedical applications possible

“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 henryd@uakron.edu.

Denise Henry | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Architecture Attachment Biomedical Physics Polymer biomedicine rubber spin surfaces

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht The Future Face of Molecular Electronics
17.09.2014 | American Institute of Physics (AIP)

nachricht 'Squid skin' metamaterials project yields vivid color display
16.09.2014 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

"Start-ups and spin-offs funding – Public and private policies", 14th October 2014

12.09.2014 | Event News

BALTIC 2014: Baltic Sea Geologists meet in Warnemünde

03.09.2014 | Event News

IT security in the digital society

27.08.2014 | Event News

 
Latest News

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer

18.09.2014 | Medical Engineering

Scripps Research Institute Chemists Modify Antibiotic to Vanquish Resistant Bacteria

18.09.2014 | Life Sciences

Hubble Helps Find Smallest Known Galaxy Containing a Supermassive Black Hole

18.09.2014 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>