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 email@example.com.
Denise Henry | Eurek Alert!
Breaking bad metals with neutrons
16.01.2018 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional
16.01.2018 | Rice University
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.01.2018 | Awards Funding