Ms. Sonia Fernandez of UC Santa Barbara won the internet this week for her headline Cling-On Warriors, a piece on a new adhesive currently being developed out on the west coast.
The sandcastle worm serves as the inspiration for a new underwater adhesive that has the potential to stay sticky even in harsh environments, such as salty sea water and solutions containing organic impurities.
Known for constructing hive-like shelters out of sand glued together by a protein adhesive, the Phragmatopoma californica have long served as inspiration for engineers attempting a new adhesive to better perform in wet, submerged, inhospitable conditions.
While wet glues have been the subject of R&D for years, no one has approached the natural substances in terms of how rapidly the adhesion process occurs. In fact, synthetic underwater adhesives have typically required complex processing; adding several steps to what would ideally be a simple process.
This new worm glue is particularly noteworthy because through a phenomenon called solvent exchange, the adhesion is more streamlined. The processing doesn’t need pre-immersive dry curing or applied compressing pressure that is typically required.
Cling-On Warriors. Genius.