Scientists Look to Plants and Shellfish for Adhesive Innovations

Posted on 1/21/2020 8:09:04 AM By ASC

Scientists at the Purdue University College of Science have been scratching around in kitchens and on seashore rocks, but not in the hope of finding tasty snacks or shellfish treats. Instead they’ve been trying to satisfy their curiosity about what edible plants and shellfish can teach them, and so far it’s been enough to get them started on developing the technology needed to adopt the compounds and chemistry involved in natural adhesion, and start working towards patenting the results.

The Purdue team, which started their research by studying how shellfish adhere to rocks,  broadened the scope to include the adhesion process adopted by some plants, fruits and nuts. Results have been the development of high-performance tunable adhesives, as well as the discovery that the reaction resulting from combinations of tannic acid and zein protein could hold the secret to high-performance adhesives for use in sectors like cardboard packaging and construction materials, as well as for furniture and other household items.

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