Press Release 06-060
Waterproof Superglue May Be Strongest in Nature
Bacterial adhesive is 2-3 times stronger than common commercial glues
April 11, 2006
The glue one species of water-loving bacteria uses to grip its surroundings may be the strongest natural adhesive known to science. If engineers can find a way to mass-produce the material, it could have uses in medicine, marine technology and a range of other applications.
Researchers at Indiana University in Bloomington and Brown University in Providence, R.I., studied how much force they needed to tug the tiny, stalked Caulobacter crescentus off a glass plate. As the researchers reported in the Apr. 11, 2006, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the bacteria grip with a force of 70 newtons per square millimeter--roughly 5 tons per square inch--or equivalent to the downward force exerted by three cars balancing on a spot the size of a quarter. While the researchers do not yet know if the substance is the strongest glue on Earth, it is stronger than cyanoacrylate superglues found on store shelves and may be rivaled only by a few synthetics.
Several NSF programs have supported the research. Funding for this study came from the Division of Materials Research in the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Directorate.
Additional information is available in the Indiana University press release linked below.
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF (703) 292-7730 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Lawton, Brown University (401) 863-1862 Wendy_Lawton@brown.edu
David Bricker, Indiana University (812) 856-9035 email@example.com
Maija M. Kukla, NSF (703) 292-4940 firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick P. Dennis, NSF (703) 292-7145 email@example.com
Charles Bouldin, NSF (703) 292-4920 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally E. O'Connor, NSF (703) 292-8470 email@example.com
Wendy Fuller-Mora, NSF (703) 292-4931 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Freund, Brown University (401) 863-1476 email@example.com
Jay X. Tang, Brown University (401) 863 2292 Jay_Tang@Brown.edu
Yves Brun, Indiana University (812) 855-8860 firstname.lastname@example.org
Indiana University release: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/3258.html
Yves Brun homepage: http://www.bio.indiana.edu/facultyresearch/faculty/Brun.html
Jay Tang laboratory homepage: http://biophysics.physics.brown.edu/
Ben Freund homepage: http://www.engin.brown.edu/faculty/freund/
Related National Public Radio news broadcast: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5335766
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget was $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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