Secrets of Bio Glues

Researchers at the University of Akron have revealed the evolutionary strength of spider web glue. Published in the May 17, 2010, issue of Nature Communications, the research revealed that the effectiveness and strength of the spider web glue ensues from the highly entangled, cross-linked polymers in each droplet of the glue, which enables the adhesive force to be transmitted throughout the glue.

UA researcher Vasav Sahni notes:

[The] stickiness of the glue droplets depends on the speed at which they are stretched.

Subsequently, the glue droplets can hold on to fast-flying insects when they initially impact webs and retain trapped insects for a time period long enough for them to be subdued by the spider.

“This finding should significantly benefit the development of synthetic adhesives for biomedical, orthopedics and wound-healing applications. The understanding of how spiders use this unique glue will allow scientists to develop reversible adhesives that work in the presence of water,” says Dhinojwala.

As we have often highlighted in the past ("Sea life and other sources of glue to mend people" link or "Bio Glues" link), a wide range of biological sources have been identified and are under evaluation (or adaptation) as medical and surgical glues due to their evolutionarily-designed strength, biocompatibility and other inherent advantages.

See also the MedMarket Diligence, "Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues and Wound Closure, 2009-2013." Report #S175