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 16, 2019 at 6:48 am
A glue that works underwater and can stick objects ... which imitated the natural adhesives found in marine animals like barnacles. Unfortunately, such naturally-inspired glues have been found ...
- 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 ...
- 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 ...
- Researchers develop groundbreaking process to study barnacle glue, could save Navy millionson August 1, 2019 at 5:00 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.
- Snails Are a Muse for Super Strength Glue Made from Mostly Wateron February 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Drawing inspiration from snails and barnacles, an MIT research team has created a hydrogel super strength glue made almost entirely of water. Some of the best innovations take their cue from nature, a ...
- Ancient cave bears, barnacles and photo-crazy spacecrafton September 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Part of what makes barnacles so difficult to dislodge is that they secrete a liquid glue that makes close contact with the hull’s surface and then hardens into a cementlike substance.
- Lowell Company Developing 'Bone Glue' to Help Healingon June 16, 2018 at 5:00 pm
The human body is full of water, so these companies have grappled with finding a way to glue something underwater. LaunchPad Medical looked at how barnacles glue themselves to the bottom of boats and ...
- Of glues and gases: Barnacle adhesion and nanomechanical sensorson October 30, 2017 at 6:22 am
He then removed the barnacles using a force gauge and calculated the critical shear stress needed to do the job for both sets. Finally, the quantity of glue remaining on the substrates was measured.
- Silk-like sequences shape barnacles' permanent adhesive, produce sticky, durable bondon January 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Barnacles are closer relatives to insects than mussels and tubeworms, and our results suggest that the glue may be organized like arthropod silks, making their familial relationship to spiders ...
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