Engineers Develop New Super Strong and Reversible Adhesive

Posted on 7/30/2019 2:29:10 PM By ASC

Following in the sticky trails of snails and the adhesion attributes of geckos, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania came across PHEMA, a super strong adhesive polymer which the researchers say is capable of supporting weight equivalent to that of a suspended adult male, even if used in small postage stamp sized amounts.

The research team was led by Shu Yang, a professor in both the Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Departments at the university, who said PHEMA works in a similar way to snail slime and geckos in terms of reversibility and adhesion qualities, but goes beyond their capabilities of only being able to carry their own light weights.

Yang reported that PHEMA combined the necessary requirements of conformity to small grooves which allows it to stick to a surface when wet and rubbery; and rigidity without shrinkage when dry, which results in it fastening firmly onto either a vertical or horizontal surfaces without popping off due to shrinkage. This combination leads to an extremely strong bond when the substance is dry, but which is easily reversed by wetting. 


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