Mussel-inspired adhesives and coatings
Mussels attach to solid surfaces in the sea. Their adhesion must be rapid, strong, and tough, or else they will be dislodged and dashed to pieces by the next incoming wave. Given the dearth of synthetic adhesives for wet polar surfaces, much effort has been directed to characterizing and mimicking essential features of the adhesive chemistry practiced by mussels. Studies of these organisms have uncovered important adaptive strategies that help to circumvent the high dielectric and solvation properties of water that typically frustrate adhesion. In a chemical vein, the adhesive proteins of mussels are heavily decorated with Dopa, a catecholic functionality. Various synthetic polymers have been functionalized with catechols to provide diverse adhesive, sealant, coating, and anchoring properties, particularly for critical biomedical applications.
Annual Review of Materials Research
Lee, Bruce P.; Messersmith, P. B.; Israelachvili, J. N.; and Waite, J. H., "Mussel-inspired adhesives and coatings" (2011). Department of Biomedical Engineering Publications. 17.