Over a 150 years since it was first described by Darwin, scientists are finally uncovering the secrets behind the super strength of barnacle glue.
Still far better than anything we have been able to develop synthetically, barnacle glue – or cement – sticks to any surface, under any conditions.
But exactly how this superglue of superglues works has remained a mystery – until now.
An international team of scientists led by Newcastle University, UK, and funded by the US Office of Naval Research, have shown for the first time that barnacle larvae release an oily droplet to clear the water from surfaces before sticking down using a phosphoprotein adhesive.
Publishing their findings this week in the prestigious academic journal Nature Communications, author Dr Nick Aldred says the findings could pave the way for the development of novel synthetic bioadhesives for use in medical implants and micro-electronics. The research will also be important in the production of new anti-fouling coatings for ships.
“It’s over 150 years since Darwin first described the cement glands of barnacle larvae and little work has been done since then,” says Dr Aldred, a research associate in the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University, one of the world’s leading institutions in this field of research.
“We’ve known for a while there are two components to the bioadhesive but until now, it was thought they behaved a bit like some of the synthetic glues – mixing before hardening. But that still left the question, how does the glue contact the surface in the first place if it is already covered with water? This is one of the key hurdles to developing glues for underwater applications.
The Latest on: Barnacle glue
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The Latest on: Barnacle glue
- Chitin is a functional component of the larval adhesive of barnacleson January 17, 2020 at 2:35 am
Barnacles have a universal requirement for strong adhesion at the point of larval attachment. Selective pressure on the cyprid adhesive has been intense and led to evolution of a tenacious and ...
- Sticky sea-tuation: Scientists develop underwater glue that works like static electricity to stick objects together in secondson November 12, 2019 at 6:48 am
Previous efforts to make underwater glues were inspired by nature's barnacles However these glues have been found to rapidly oxidise and lose their stickiness Japanese researchers instead made a glue ...
- Intertidal: Barnacles stick aroundon October 30, 2019 at 4:15 am
Scientists have tried to replicate barnacle glue and have yet to create anything as good as nature has. There’s a fascinating concept called biomimicry. Nature does this by copying itself – like a ...
- Researchers Develop Groundbreaking Process to Study Barnacle Glue, Could Save Navy Millionson August 27, 2019 at 8:49 pm
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory developed a new method for identifying the glue proteins that barnacles produce to adhere to ship hulls and other surfaces. The ...
- NRL study on barnacle glue could save U.S. Navy millionson August 27, 2019 at 1:13 pm
WASHINGTON. Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory developed a new method for identifying the glue proteins that barnacles produce to adhere to ship hulls and other surfaces. According to ...
- View Imageon August 27, 2019 at 9:30 am
postdoctoral research scientist, prepares barnacle glue samples for proteomics analysis using pressure cycling technology at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. August 2, 2019. The use of ...
- U.S. Navy Researchers Unlock Secrets Behind Barnacle Glueon August 26, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Barnacles may not seem complex, but scientists have never been able to fully characterize the tough glue that sticks these small organisms to the hull of a ship. Some of the proteins in barnacle glue ...
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