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Tough adhesives for diverse wet surfaces

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Science  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6349, pp. 378-381
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah6362

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Sticky even when wet

Tissue adhesives are used as an alternative to stitches or staples and can be less damaging to the healthy tissues. But they can suffer from low biocompatibility and poor matching of the mechanical properties with the tissues. Li et al. combined an adhesive surface with a flexible matrix to develop an adhesive that has the right level of stick but moves with the surrounding tissues. The adhesive is effective in the presence of blood and thus might work during wound repair.

Science, this issue p. 378

Abstract

Adhesion to wet and dynamic surfaces, including biological tissues, is important in many fields but has proven to be extremely challenging. Existing adhesives are cytotoxic, adhere weakly to tissues, or cannot be used in wet environments. We report a bioinspired design for adhesives consisting of two layers: an adhesive surface and a dissipative matrix. The former adheres to the substrate by electrostatic interactions, covalent bonds, and physical interpenetration. The latter amplifies energy dissipation through hysteresis. The two layers synergistically lead to higher adhesion energies on wet surfaces as compared with those of existing adhesives. Adhesion occurs within minutes, independent of blood exposure and compatible with in vivo dynamic movements. This family of adhesives may be useful in many areas of application, including tissue adhesives, wound dressings, and tissue repair.

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