Gluing under water

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Gluing under water is not easy, usual adhesives do not work in aqueous environments. Biological mechanisms, however, work very well for several animals and plants. Thus, biomimetic approaches are obvious.

In a recent article, a broad overview is given on underwater adhesion phenomena of different marine species. It points out the available information about molecular sequences of adhesive proteins but does not forget the large problems understanding self-assembly, molecule-interaction, structure-function relationship, etc. as well as the missing knowledge about how organisms can control the process time- and space-dependently.

On the other hand, the state-of-the-art in engineering biomimetic underwater adhesives is given, showing partly great potential in biomedicine and tissue engineering, but also large deviations to the abilities of marine species. The authors underline the large potential of "synthetic biology" in creating even adhesives which allow for changing their bonding properties on demand.

 

M. Cui, S. Ren, S. Wei, C. Sun, and C. Zhong
Natural and bio-inspired underwater adhesives: Current progress and new perspectives
APL Materials 5, 116102 (2017)