Sunday, 18 May 2014

Spider Silk Inspires A More Efficient, Stronger Commercial And Biomedical Adhesive

May 17, 2014

April Flowers for – Your Universe Online

Whether you think they are creepy and scary, or useful and beautiful, one has to admit that spiders are also fascinating. And it isn’t just Hollywood that finds spiders irresistible – research scientists find them equally alluring.

A group of researchers from the University of Akron (UA), for example, have just released a new study demonstrating a more efficient and stronger commercial and biomedical adhesive inspired by spider silk. This adhesive, described in the Journal of Polymer Physics, could potentially attach tendons to bones or bind fractures.

Dr. Ali Dhinojwala, UA’s H.A. Morton professor of polymer science, led the team that created synthetic duplicates of the super-sticky, silk “attachment discs” that spiders use to attach their webs to surfaces. Working like stitches or staples, Dhinojwala explained in a statement that the discs are created when spiders pin down one thread under additional threads. A very strong attachment force is created using the “staple-pin” geometry of the discs, with very little material outlay.

The research team used a process called electrospinning to draw very fine fibers from liquid polyurethane using electrical charges. This allowed them to imitate the efficient staple-pin design by pinning down a nylon thread with the electrospun fibers.

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