A team of researchers from Hokkaido University’s Creative Research Institute (WPI-ICReDD) and Hokkaido University researchers Fan Hailong and Professor Yan Jianping have developed new adhesives that can be fast and firmly bonded in seawater and can be reused. Marine-attached organisms, such as thick-shelled mussels and barnacles, can firmly adhere to rocks in seawater by secreting an adhesive called “adhesion protein”.
Most man-made adhesives, while firmly bonded to materials in the air, cannot be used in water and in the ocean.
The team obtained a polymer compound arranged adjacent to the aromatic ring by the “adjacent copolymer method”, which is strongly adsorbed to glass in seawater. Next, they cross-linked and cured the compound in water, synthesizing a gel-like adhesive with scalability.
Experiments have found that in seawater, the adhesive can be fast and firmly bonded to metals, stones (ceramics), glass, plastic and other negatively charged solids, bonding strength is very high, up to about 60kPa (the bonding surface per square meter can bear 6 tons of weight), but also can be repeatedly peeled and re-bonded. This adhesive and the adhesive (glass block) can be firmly glued together with only 5 seconds of pressing in the sea water, although the adhesive area is only about 1/4 1 dollar coin size, but can withstand about 500g of glass blocks.
This study is also the world’s first reported adhesive that can be reused in seawater. In addition to being used as a temporary fixer and breakrepair agent in seawater, it is also expected that the technology will be used to make concrete in seawater. The study has been published in the latest nature bulletin.