Mussels can be considered real masters of adhesion. These can bond under water to any kind of surface. This adhesive property of mussels has motivated researchers at Mainz to add exciting property to this innovative adhesive.The new adhesive designed by these researchers can be debonded as per the need.Glue has since a long time been the only viable adhesive available. However, the advent of mussels has brought a rapid change in the way adhesives have been perceived. These can not only bind aerofoils of airplanes, but are a reliable bonding agent under water.
Mussel as an adhesive can not only fix leaks underneath water, but can save lives as it is used for sealing wounds during operations. This adhesive can be debonded when required. Researchers were able to produce star shaped polymers having four arms. These polymers had nitrodopamine groups attached on the ends. These nitrodopamine groups help cross linking under water thus giving it self healing properties.
This innovative feature has made it possible for a gel sample of this material to grow back in a short time. Presence of nitro group seemed to have worked to the advantage of mussel adhesive. The molecule is able to split through irradiation from ultra violet light and the adhesive can be debonded with ease.
This research on part of the scientific team at Mainz have given rise to a unique category of adhesives that can heal themselves and are waterproof. Additionally you can expect them to be biocompatible.
The surfaces having a coat of this adhesive act as an excellent substrate for cell culture. Mussel adhesive is proving to be a boon for science and is being used in various medical conditions.