Indiana News

Purdue researchers create new glue mimicked after sea creatures

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — Researchers at Purdue University have been studying sea creatures and the way they stick to each other to create a new type of adhesive.

They hope their adhesives could be the next replacement for stitches.

“When you go to the beach you never see a muscle or a barnacle alone. They always cluster together,” said Chemistry and Materials Engineering professor Jonathan Wilker.

He started to study mussels, oysters and other sea creatures years ago when he often went scuba diving on the coast.

“I would see all these sea creatures sticking themselves to the rocks and sticking to each other and I thought it was pretty cool,” Wilker added.

They have been able to create a non-toxic adhesive based on the way the sea creatures function and stick to rocks.

“We’ve created a protein based material and what we’ve done is we’ve made a material that’s flexible and stretchy but also has some adhesive portions to it,” said Associate Professor Julie Liu.

“If we try to bond things together under water, under some circumstances, we’ve been able to get adhesions stronger than any commercial product we’ve been able to get our hands on in the lab,” said Wilker.

There are millions of surgeries each year and many of those wounds are closed with sutures and staples. Often those do not work very well in wet environments.

Some adhesives currently on the market have toxic characteristics and can only be applied topically because they break down into carcinogenic products, and some adhesives come from a blood source.

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