A New Superglue Flexes Its Mussels

MIT Technology Review

Last week, Science published a paper reporting the creation of an adhesive based on the sticky foot of the tree frog. These fascinating feet are made of tiny pads separated by channels that flush away liquid to help the critters grip wet surfaces. Similarly, the new adhesive contains grooves that keep tape sticky even when it's re-used several times.

I guess you could say the paper had traction, because today Science published yet another report on a new superglue--this time based on mussels.

I've written about tree frogs but not mussels (unless you count signing the bill at some seafood restaurant), so I don't understand the process that well. The basic idea seems to be that proteins help these gooey creatures stick to any surface. A trio of scientists from Northwestern have mimicked these proteins then added some bits of metal, polymer and ceramic to create a thin gluey film.

Now that's what I call a sticky situation.

(Courtesy of Haeshin Lee and Phillip Messersmith, Northwestern University)

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