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Offbeat Sticky sea-tuation: Scientists develop underwater glue that works like static electricity to stick objects together in seconds

12:45  16 november  2019
12:45  16 november  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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A glue that works underwater and can stick objects together in mere seconds has been developed by a team of researchers from Japan . The aquatic adhesive sticks to materials including glass, metals and rocks — and works by harnessing the electric force between molecules to stick to surfaces.

It states : ‘The conflicting effects of attractiveness on interest and good scientist judgements indicate that, although the stereotypical scientist may be an impartial Sticky sea - tuation : Scientists develop underwater glue that works like static electricity to stick objects together in seconds .

A hydrogel-based glue — pictured — that works underwater and can stick anything together in mere seconds has been developed by a team of researchers from Japan © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A hydrogel-based glue — pictured — that works underwater and can stick anything together in mere seconds has been developed by a team of researchers from Japan

A glue that works underwater and can stick objects together in mere seconds has been developed by a team of researchers from Japan.

The aquatic adhesive sticks to materials including glass, metals and rocks — and works by harnessing the electric force between molecules to stick to surfaces.

This so-called 'electrostatic attraction' works in a similar way to how a party balloon can be stuck to the ceiling by rubbing its surface to create an electric charge.

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Sea-going superpower, or was plato playing politics? Atlantis was first described by the Greek philosopher Plato more than 2,000 years ago. Sticky sea - tuation : Scientists develop underwater glue that works like static electricity to stick objects together in seconds .

The scientists plan to test the robots at a depth of 656ft (200 metres) before taking Crabster to the Yellow Sea to help archaeologists examine 12th century shipwrecks Sticky sea - tuation : Scientists develop underwater glue that works like static electricity to stick objects together in seconds .

This method of sticking things together lasts longer than previous 'waterproof' glues, which imitated the natural adhesives found in marine animals like barnacles.

Unfortunately, such naturally-inspired glues have been found to quickly oxidise, causing them to lose their adhesiveness.

HOW DOES THE GLUE WORK? 

Unlike superglue, which hardens on contact with water, the underwater hydrogel glue uses electric forces.

Positively charged parts of the long molecules within the gel are attracted to negatively charged surfaces. 

Such include those on materials made of substances like glass, metal and even rocks.

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Researchers were able to use the glue to lift an 18 ounce (500g) glass block. 

The glue is not permanent, however, with the adhesion being completely reversible. 

'We discovered that the hydrogel could easily be manufactured using a highly scalable, cost-effective method,' said paper author and polymer scientist Jian Ping Gong of Japan's Hokkaido University in Japan.

'It can act like superglue in highly ionic environments such as seawater, overcoming issues in currently available marine adhesives.'

In contrast to previous underwater glues, the researchers developed a so-called hydrogel — a material made of water-loving chains of long polymer molecules — that uses the electric force between molecules to stick to negatively charged surfaces.

These surfaces can include those of glass, rocks and metals.

Each polymer chain is built from two types of smaller molecule — one containing a positively charged, 'cationic' residue and the other a so-called 'aromatic' ring.

Put together, these form an 'adjacent' bond.

'Aromatic amino acid sequences in proteins are known to facilitate electrostatic interactions in saline water,' said Professor Gong.

It had previously been challenging to create such sequences in man-made polymers, but the team found a cost-effective way to achieve this.

Moreover, the team demonstrated that — even though it is the positively charged residue that allows the glue to stick to negatively charged surfaces — the gel was not nearly as adhesive without the inclusion of the adjacent aromatic molecules.

a sign on the side of a building: The team tested the glue on an 18 ounce (500g) glass block, showing that — after five seconds of contact between the block and the gel — they were able to lift the object out of the water © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The team tested the glue on an 18 ounce (500g) glass block, showing that — after five seconds of contact between the block and the gel — they were able to lift the object out of the water

The team tested the glue on an 18 ounce (500g) glass block, showing that — after five seconds of contact between the block and the hydrogel — they were able to lift the object up and out of the water.

In fact, the glue’s strength can reach to around 60 kilo pascals — which is close to the cabin pressure found in commercial air planes.

The glue is not permanent, however, with the adhesion being completely reversible. 

'Our hydrogel should have promising applications as glues for undersea leakage, sea sand binders for preserving marine environments and for concrete in the sea,' Professor Gong added.

The team also hopes that their present discovery will lead to the production of similar glues that work in other extreme environments.

The global underwater adhesive market is expected to reach £20 billion ($25.7 billion) by 2020 — an increase of five per cent since 2015.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications.

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