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Bioadhesives are natural polymer compounds that act as adhesives. The term covers a broad range of substances: some, such as gelatine, have been used by man for many years (and in many cases have been superseded by synthetic alternatives); others are not yet in commercial use.
Additional recommended knowledge
Bioadhesives are of commercial interest because they tend to be biocompatible for applications involving skin or other body tissue, they work in wet environments and under water, and they will stick to low surface energy/ nonpolar surfaces like plastics. In nature, bioadhesives are typically generated by a "mix to activate" process, and are used:
Organisms such as barnacles use linear-chain polymer slimes to create Stefan Adhesion, which makes pull-off much harder than lateral drag, allowing the organism mobility over a surface. Example compounds include glycoproteins (used to stick macroalgae spores to surfaces) and mucopolysaccharides (used by marine invertebrates).
Barnacles achieve pull-off forces as high as 400 000 N/m2 through this mechanism.
Bioadhesives are presently expensive, but some commercial applications now exist, with others in development. The most promising materials are those employed by marine invertebrates.
Several commercial methods of production are being researched:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bioadhesives". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|