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13 Sep 2023

Purdue University research group develops plant-based, inexpensive and sustainable glue which works underwater

Purdue University research group develops plant-based, inexpensive and sustainable glue which works underwater

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a glue made from zein (a protein found in corn) and tannic acid. The glue is plant-based, sustainable, inexpensive, made simply and quickly and works underwater or in wet conditions.

The researchers tested the glue in multiple kinds of water, including, seawater, saline solution, tap water, and deionized water. They discovered it works when the glue formed a protective skin layer on the adhesive surface when it was placed underwater and this protective skin did not allow water to enter the rest of the material. The researchers also tested the glue against temperatures and discovered that at 30 degrees Celsius maximum bonding occurred and then once temperature was increased the bond increased again.

Gudrun Schmidt the study author commented on the research undertaken on the glue in water, saying, “Interestingly, the water type does not influence performance a great deal, but the substrate type does. An additional unexpected result was bond strengths increasing over time when exposed to water, suggesting that water helps to make the glue stick underwater.”

The researchers hope that the glue will be used in a variety of markets from construction to oral, including manufacturing, food and oral. Furthermore, due to the glue’s ability to work underwater, there is also a hope that the glue could be used to repair coral reefs. In order to do this, the researchers would plan to plant new coral reefs on structures that have died. This plan is currently with the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) where it is being tested to see if this is possible.

CRF has already shown interest in the product and coral restoration program manager at CRF, Phanor Montoya-Maya said, “Field preliminary results are very encouraging, and we’ll continue to provide feedback to Purdue researchers to ensure the final product is consistently successful across multiple restoration goals.”

The glue is also quick and easy to make, so it would be able to be made both in the lab and even outdoors, highlighting and extra advantage to this versatile and excellent breakthrough.

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