In nature there are astonishingly robust, strongly bonding, universal adhesives that meet the first two requirements: mussels use them to stick to nearly all types of surfaces, from rocks to wooden posts to the metal hulls of ships. The amino acid dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) is critical to this amazing adhesive effect. The DOPA groups contained in the adhesive react stepwise under the conditions prevalent in seawater to form a cross-linked polymer matrix capable of bonding to inorganic oxides in rock. They also bind to polyvalent metal ions, such as iron ions, in seawater, which give the mussel adhesive self-healing properties.
Researchers working with Aránzazu del Campo at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz have taken inspiration from these mussel adhesives. They produced four-armed, star-shaped polymers with nitrodopamine groups attached to their ends. These groups are related to DOPA and help the adhesive to cross-link under water and give it self-healing properties. It only takes a few minutes for a cut gel sample of this material to grow back together. The nitro groups (-NO2) also provide this mussel-adhesive-inspired material with another bonus: the molecules can be split by irradiation with UV light, so the adhesive can be debonded.
The Mainz team has thus laid the foundation for a class of adhesives that are waterproof, heal themselves, react with surfaces, degrade with light, and are biocompatible. Surfaces coated with this adhesive also provide an excellent substrate for cell cultures. The primary application for this new material may thus be in medicine, possibly as removable hydrogel pads for skin regeneration or as a reversible superglue for repeated operations.About the Author
Aránzazu del Campo | Angewandte Chemie
New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News