Versatile adhesive films
doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.369 Published online 25 January 2010
Researchers have invented versatile adhesive films that are equally effective in dry and wet environments. The films bind to both water-loving and water-hating surfaces.
The adhesive films could find use in marine environments as well as in biomedicine.
The researchers took cues from nature where there is ample evidence of natural adhesion among animals. Microtexturing of the surface works wonders in natural adhesion. They produced three types of adhesive films (unstructured films, films with air-filled channels, and films with silicone oil-filled channels) with embedded channels using poly (dimethylsiloxane), an organic compound.
They carried out tests using the films both in dry and wet environments. The study found that the presence of subsurface embedded microchannels enhances adhesion both in air and under water. The adhesive films with oil-filled channels exhibited the maximum adhesive strength.
"This is a novel mechanism for controlling adhesion that nature has perfected through millions of years of evolution," says Animangsu Ghatak, one of the researchers from the department of chemical engineering of Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Besides being reusable, it is also a 'clean' adhesive as it does not leave any nasty mark, he concludes.