- If you are not yet a Down To Earth subscriber, please click here to subscribe: Subscription
- If you are an existing Down To Earth subscriber, please log in to download digital archives.
Unlike other adhesives it becomes stickier in dry environments
A NEW adhesive could make sticking stuff together a little easier in outer space. Most glues become brittle and loose their stickiness when moisture is removed. But this adhesive developed at Kansas State University in the US does the exact opposite, becoming stickier in drier environments. The adhesive was recently patented in the US.
It is made up of amino acid chains called peptides that become increasingly sticky when their pH reaches a level of about 9. At this point, the peptides form long fibrils that get tangled up in each other and whatever surfaces they are in contact with.
So the glue might not be ideal for non-porous, smooth surfaces, it will grab a tight hold on any textured surface.
The glue is not as sticky as the conventional adhesives, but in super-dry environments like those of outer space, it is ideal. It can help in tasks like patching up heat-resistant tiles on a spacecraft or affixing something on the outside of a spacecraft.
The glue could also be used to monitor moisture in areas that need to remain very dry. It could be used to connect a circuit, so that when the moisture in an area rises, the circuit would break, triggering an alert.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.