Scientists Develop Super Glue Inspired by Spider-Man

By: | May 7th, 2024

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E44 Epoxy and Its Shape-Shifting Abilities

Move over, radioactive spiders! Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have created a real-world alternative to Spider-Man’s wall-crawling abilities. Their invention? An incredibly strong, reusable adhesive made from a special shape-memory polymer called E44 epoxy.

This innovative material acts like a chameleon. At room temperature, it’s stiff and glassy, much like hard plastic. But apply some heat, and it transforms into a soft, rubbery substance. This dramatic shift in form allows the adhesive to grip onto a variety of surfaces with impressive strength.

Researchers revealed that when subjected to a temperature increase of 140 Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) using a hair dryer, the polymer takes less than a minute to deform and lose its bonding. Conversely, it requires approximately three minutes for the material to cool down, solidify its adhesion to a new surface, and maintain its grip.

Promising Results on Various Surfaces

The researchers tested the adhesive on various textures, and the results were promising. Not only did it hold on tight, but it also detached cleanly without leaving any sticky residue behind.

The secret to this super glue lies in its structure. The team discovered that shaping the E44 epoxy into tiny hair-like protrusions, called fibrils, maximized its adhesive power. In their experiments, a single fibril just millimeters wide could hold a weight of over 3 kilograms! Imagine the possibilities when you scale this up – a palm-sized pad containing numerous fibrils successfully held a whopping 60 kilograms.

This research has exciting implications for various fields. Imagine using this adhesive for mounting and repairs where clean removal is crucial. Think of the potential applications in construction, sports equipment, and even wearable technology.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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