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Concept: Adhesive


Adhesion to wet and dynamic surfaces, including biological tissues, is important in many fields but has proven to be extremely challenging. Existing adhesives are cytotoxic, adhere weakly to tissues, or cannot be used in wet environments. We report a bioinspired design for adhesives consisting of two layers: an adhesive surface and a dissipative matrix. The former adheres to the substrate by electrostatic interactions, covalent bonds, and physical interpenetration. The latter amplifies energy dissipation through hysteresis. The two layers synergistically lead to higher adhesion energies on wet surfaces as compared with those of existing adhesives. Adhesion occurs within minutes, independent of blood exposure and compatible with in vivo dynamic movements. This family of adhesives may be useful in many areas of application, including tissue adhesives, wound dressings, and tissue repair.

Concepts: Electron, Blood, Thermodynamics, Tissue, Adhesion, Adhesive, Dissipation


For adhering to three-dimensional (3D) surfaces or objects, current adhesion systems are limited by a fundamental trade-off between 3D surface conformability and high adhesion strength. This limitation arises from the need for a soft, mechanically compliant interface, which enables conformability to nonflat and irregularly shaped surfaces but significantly reduces the interfacial fracture strength. In this work, we overcome this trade-off with an adhesion-based soft-gripping system that exhibits enhanced fracture strength without sacrificing conformability to nonplanar 3D surfaces. Composed of a gecko-inspired elastomeric microfibrillar adhesive membrane supported by a pressure-controlled deformable gripper body, the proposed soft-gripping system controls the bonding strength by changing its internal pressure and exploiting the mechanics of interfacial equal load sharing. The soft adhesion system can use up to ∼26% of the maximum adhesion of the fibrillar membrane, which is 14× higher than the adhering membrane without load sharing. Our proposed load-sharing method suggests a paradigm for soft adhesion-based gripping and transfer-printing systems that achieves area scaling similar to that of a natural gecko footpad.

Concepts: Fracture, Materials science, Pressure, Surface, Object-oriented programming, Analytic geometry, Adhesion, Adhesive


Fabricated adhesives are demonstrated to support high loads while maintaining easy release on a variety of “real world” surfaces. These adhesives consist of simple elastomers and fabrics without nano or micron scale features, yet they surpass the adhesive force capacity of live Tokay geckos and can be scaled to large sizes.

Concepts: 2002 albums, Gecko, Polyurethane, Elastomer, Universe, Adhesion, Adhesive, Tokay gecko


For the first time, we report the remarkable ability of the terrestrial leaf beetle Gastrophysa viridula to walk on solid substrates under water. These beetles have adhesive setae on their feet that produce a secretory fluid having a crucial role in adhesion on land. In air, adhesion is produced by capillary forces between the fluid-covered setae and the substrate. In general, capillary forces do not contribute to adhesion under water. However, our observations showed that these beetles may use air bubbles trapped between their adhesive setae to walk on flooded, inclined substrata or even under water. Beetle adhesion to hydrophilic surfaces under water was lower than that in air, whereas adhesion to hydrophobic surfaces under water was comparable to that in air. Oil-covered hairy pads had a pinning effect, retaining the air bubbles on their feet. Bubbles in contact with the hydrophobic substrate de-wetted the substrate and produced capillary adhesion. Additional capillary forces are generated by the pad’s liquid bridges between the foot and the substrate. Inspired by this idea, we designed an artificial silicone polymer structure with underwater adhesive properties.

Concepts: Enzyme substrate, Water, Foot, Polymer, Liquid, Beetle, Substrate, Adhesive


Surgical sealants have been used for sealing or reconnecting ruptured tissues but often have low adhesion, inappropriate mechanical strength, cytotoxicity concerns, and poor performance in biological environments. To address these challenges, we engineered a biocompatible and highly elastic hydrogel sealant with tunable adhesion properties by photocrosslinking the recombinant human protein tropoelastin. The subcutaneous implantation of the methacryloyl-substituted tropoelastin (MeTro) sealant in rodents demonstrated low toxicity and controlled degradation. All animals survived surgical procedures with adequate blood circulation by using MeTro in an incisional model of artery sealing in rats, and animals showed normal breathing and lung function in a model of surgically induced rat lung leakage. In vivo experiments in a porcine model demonstrated complete sealing of severely leaking lung tissue in the absence of sutures or staples, with no clinical or sonographic signs of pneumothorax during 14 days of follow-up. The engineered MeTro sealant has high potential for clinical applications because of superior adhesion and mechanical properties compared to commercially available sealants, as well as opportunity for further optimization of the degradation rate to fit desired surgical applications on different tissues.

Concepts: Medicine, Blood, Lung, Heart, Surgery, Engineering, Materials science, Adhesive


We investigated the formation of a contact between a smooth sphere of elastomer and a micro-patterned elastomer substrate. We focussed our attention on the transition between a contact only established at the top of the pillars, and a mixed contact with a central zone of full contact surrounded by a top contact corona, which was observed when the normal load was increased. The full contact zone always nucleated with a finite radius, and the transition appears to be a first-order transition, with a hysteresis due to the creation of an adhesive zone between the pillars. We propose to include the effect of the new inter-pillar adhesion to produce a realistic treatment of the mechanics of these complex contacts. This new approach quantitatively accounts for the evolution of the observed jump in the radius of the full contact with the geometrical parameters of the pattern.

Concepts: English-language films, Topology, The Normal, Materials science, Contact lens, 2006 albums, Adhesive, Jump In!


Cyanoacrylate has been used as a commercial tissue adhesive. Recently, ethyl 2-cyanoacrylate has been suggested for the fixation of onlay autogenous bone graft. However, ethyl 2-cyanoacrylate must be biocompatible with bone tissue. This study evaluated the cytotoxicity of cyanoacrylate adhesives using a direct contact assay on human oral osteoblast cells.

Concepts: Bone, Cell, Cytotoxicity, Bone morphogenetic protein, Adhesive, Bone grafting, Adhesives, Cyanoacrylate


BACKGROUND: Pilonidal sinus is a common condition often managed with invasive surgery associated with a significant morbidity and often a prolonged recovery time. Fibrin glue has been used in our institution as an alternative to conventional surgery. The purpose of this study was to perform a service evaluation of patient satisfaction and recovery following fibrin glue treatment for pilonidal sinus. METHODS: All pilonidal glue procedures for a single surgeon were identified from theatre and consultant diary records from March 2007 to September 2011. A questionnaire was sent by post to all patients. Patient satisfaction, time to return to normal activities, the need for further procedures and whether they would recommend a glue procedure to a friend were evaluated. RESULTS: Ninety-three patients were identified, accounting for a total of 119 glue procedures and 57/93 responses were received (61 %). The median age of respondents was 26 (17-70) years. Seventy-nine per cent (n = 45) were satisfied, pleased or very pleased with the result of their procedure. Fifty-four per cent (n = 31) were back to normal activities within a week with a further 17 % (n = 10) back to normal activities within 2 weeks. Seventy-four per cent (n = 42) required no further treatment. Of the 15 patients requiring a further procedure, 3 went on to have a repeat glue treatment which resulted in complete healing. Eighty-two per cent (n = 47) would recommend a glue procedure to a friend. CONCLUSIONS: Fibrin gluing for pilonidal sinus should be considered as first-line treatment for most pilonidal sinuses. It has a high level of patient satisfaction and allows a rapid return to normal activities in this group of patients of working age.

Concepts: Patient, Hospital, Surgery, Physician, Pilonidal cyst, Adhesive, Integers, Adhesives


Among a myriad of spider web geometries, the orb web presents a fascinating, exquisite example in architecture and evolution. Orb webs can be divided into two categories according to the capture silk used in construction: cribellate orb webs (composed of pseudoflagelliform silk) coated with dry cribellate threads and ecribellate orb webs (composed of flagelliform silk fibres) coated by adhesive glue droplets. Cribellate capture silk is generally stronger but less-extensible than viscid capture silk, and a body of phylogenic evidence suggests that cribellate capture silk is more closely related to the ancestral form of capture spiral silk. Here, we use a coarse-grained web model to investigate how the mechanical properties of spiral capture silk affect the behaviour of the whole web, illustrating that more elastic capture spiral silk yields a decrease in web system energy absorption, suggesting that the function of the capture spiral shifted from prey capture to other structural roles. Additionally, we observe that in webs with more extensible capture silk, the effect of thread strength on web performance is reduced, indicating that thread elasticity is a dominant driving factor in web diversification.

Concepts: World Wide Web, Web 2.0, Silk, Adhesive, Spider silk, Spider, Spider web, Spider anatomy


Pressure-sensitive adhesives such as tapes become easily contaminated by dust particles. By contrast, animal adhesive pads are able to self-clean and can be reused millions of times over a lifetime with little reduction in adhesion. However, the detailed mechanisms underlying this ability are still unclear. Here we test in adhesive pads of stick insects (Carausius morosus) (1) whether self-cleaning is enhanced by the liquid pad secretion, and (2) whether alternating push-pull movements aid the removal of particles. We measured attachment forces of insect pads on glass after contamination with 10 µm polystyrene beads. While the amount of fluid present on the pad showed no effect on the pads' susceptibility to contamination, the recovery of adhesive forces after contamination was faster when higher fluid levels were present. However, this effect does not appear to be based on a faster rate of self-cleaning since the number of spheres deposited with each step did not increase with fluid level. Instead, the fluid may aid the recovery of adhesive forces by filling in the gaps between contaminating particles, similar to the fluid’s function on rough surfaces. Further, we found no evidence that an alternation of pushing and pulling movements, as found in natural steps, leads to a more efficient recovery of adhesion than repeated pulling slides.

Concepts: Insect, Liquid, Carausius morosus, Phasmatodea, Adhesion, Adhesive, Dust, A Lifetime