Materials

"Hyper glue" adhesive forges new bonds at the molecular level

"Hyper glue" adhesive forges n...
Scientists in Canada have created a new kind of "hyper glue" that relies on cross-linked molecules to form tight bonds
Scientists in Canada have created a new kind of "hyper glue" that relies on cross-linked molecules to form tight bonds
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Scientists in Canada have created a new kind of "hyper glue" that relies on cross-linked molecules to form tight bonds
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Scientists in Canada have created a new kind of "hyper glue" that relies on cross-linked molecules to form tight bonds

Modern adhesives can work wonders when say, applying a bumper sticker to your car or engaging in some arts and crafts, but there are still many materials that resist their sticky grasp. Now scientists in Canada have come up with a new formula they say can fill the gaps, using ultra-strong connections at the molecular level to create new kinds of bonds between unlikely material partners.

The research was carried out by material scientists at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, who describe their new adhesive as a “hyper glue.” The key to the new formula is a process described as cross-linking, which takes place when the team's specially designed molecules are exposed to heat or long-wave UV light, causing a new kind of chemical reaction.

"These molecules can be thermally or photochemically activated to form carbenes that readily insert into the polymer carbon-hydrogen bonds, thus leading to cross-linking," the researchers write.

According to the team, these cross-linked bonds can hold together different materials while remaining impact and corrosion resistant. The technique can be “broadly applied” to plastics and synthetic fibers, creating opportunities to mix and match materials that commercially available glues are unable to bring together.

“It turns out the adhesive is particularly effective in high-density polyethylene, which is an important plastic used in bottles, piping, geomembranes, plastic lumber and many other applications,” says lead researcher Professor Abbas Milani. “In fact, commercially available glues didn’t work at all on these materials, making our discovery an impressive foundation for a wide range of important uses.”

One of the more promising applications the scientists envision for their new hyper glue is as a bonding agent for more robust clothing. The team is already working with other researchers on new types of apparel for first responders, including high-performance body armor with ballistic protection.

“By using this cross-linking technology, we’re better able to strongly fuse together different layers of fabric types to create the next generation of clothing for extreme environments,” says Wulff. “At the same time, the cross-linker provides additional material strength to the fabric itself.”

But its potential could extend much further than that. The team also imagine the hyper glue could find use in better medical implants, stronger household plumbing or simply as an additive to give all kinds of regular products a boost in performance.

“Imagine paints that never peel or waterproof coatings that never need to be resealed,” says Milani. “We’re even starting to think about using it as a way to bond lots of different plastic types together, which is a major challenge in the recycling of plastics and their composites. There is real potential to make some of our everyday items stronger and less prone to failure, which is what many chemists and composite materials engineers strive for.”

The team has published its research in the journal Science.

Source: University of British Columbia

9 comments
Worzel
Seems great! I await with bated breath to see it for sale.
ei3io
Me too, when can I buy some?,, it could change manufacturing costs not to forget the self manufacture in creative assembly which will be HUGE for sustainability as materials never become totally obsolete,,,
Colt12
Just what I need for my greenhouse plastic. Clear duct tape is the best that I can do for now but the glue fails at below zero temperatures.
buzzclick
I have had lots of practice with alphatic resins and cyanoacrylates. Adhesives work by bonding to the material and then to itself, just like this one, and of course there are limits. Expanding the application of adhesives has enormous potential, and has me wondering about bonding tissues that have to go through wash cycles and wet environments.
Clare Love
I wonder what kind of container it will come in.
Altairtech
This is a major advancement in adhesive science. Polyethylene has always been a PITA to use because nothing would bond to it. Can't wait to see this in stores!
Aross
Just one question, what if you need to take the glued items apart?
Philip Argy
Is this Bondic?
GordonHoffman
I was going to say "Bondic" - light curing polymer, like the dentist users. I bought some online, and have repaired some things that weren't repairable otherwise.