PerspectiveMaterials Science

Tack--a Sticky Subject

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Science  20 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5431, pp. 1219-1220
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5431.1219

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Adhesion of one material to another--or "tack"--is crucial for many products, from adhesive tape to post-it notes and cosmetics. A wide range of adhesive materials is used, but achieving control over the conditions under which a material is sticky remains difficult. de Crevoisier et al. (page 1246) achieve control over the surface and bulk of the substrate to which adhesion is desired, by utilizing a melting phase transition of their substrate at 35 degrees Celsius, just below body temperature. Tack is maximized in a narrow temperature range near the phase transition, with possible applications in grips for sports rackets and golf clubs. Discussion of the mechanisms affecting tack--wetting, surface roughness, and substrate viscoelasticity--illustrates the delicate balance between factors reducing and enhancing tack in this system.