Modern adhesives can magically work in some materials, but they still can’t be used in many materials,media New Atlas reported. Now, Canadian scientists have come up with a new formula that is supposed to fill the gap, establishing new bonds between unlikely materials through cross-linking.
The study was carried out by materials scientists at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, who described their new adhesive as a “super glue.” The key to the new formula is a process known as crosslinking. When the team’s specially designed molecules are exposed to long-wave ultraviolet rays, new chemical reactions can occur.
“These molecules can be thermally activated or photochemically activated to form carbonene that is easy to insert into the polymer’s hydrocarbon bonds, leading to crosslinking,” the researchers wrote. “
According to the team, these cross-linked bonds bond different materials together while maintaining shock and corrosion resistance. The technology can be “widely used” in plastics and synthetic fibers, creating an opportunity to mix and match materials that cannot be bonded by commercially available glue.
Lead researcher Professor Abbas Milani said: “The adhesive has proven to be particularly effective in high density polyethylene, which is an important plastic used in bottles, pipes, earthen membranes, wood-plastic laminates and many other applications. In fact, commercially available glues simply cannot be used on these materials, making our discovery an impressive foundation for a wide range of uses. “
One of the most promising applications that scientists envision for their new super glue is to use as an adhesive for more durable clothes. The team is already working with other researchers to develop new types of clothing for first responders, including high-performance body armor with bulletproof features.
“By using this cross-linking technology, we are better able to integrate different types of fabrics together to create the next generation of clothing for extreme environments,” Wolff said. At the same time, the adhesive provides additional material strength for the fabric itself. “
The team also believes that the super glue can be used for better medical implants, stronger home plumbing systems, or just as additives to improve the performance of a variety of conventional products.
“Imagine a paint that’s never peeled off or a waterproof coating that never needs to be resealed,” says Milani. “We’re even starting to think about using it as a way to glue many different plastic types together, which is a major challenge in the recycling of plastics and their composites. This is the real potential of making some of our everyday items stronger and less prone to failure, which many chemists and composites engineers are looking for. “
The team’s findings were published in the journal Science.