Mussels Inspire Universal Glue

Adhesive polymer is micro-thin, can be used to create flexible electronic circuits
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2007 12:11 PM CDT
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(Newser) – A new adhesive polymer capable of bonding to almost any surface has been identified by researchers at Northwestern University. Described in this week's Science, the adhesive forms an extremely thin layer which can then bind to materials: an antibacterial coating could be applied to a scalpel, or electronic circuits printed on any surface.

The polymer is derived from the protein-based glue used by mussels and is noted for its universality; methods of "functionalizing" surfaces exists, but usually have to be tailor-made for the specific surface. The polymer could also bond electrically conductive materials together, itself serving as a heat insulating layer in a "thermoelectric" material that could convert heat into electricity.