Reversible adhesion can be performed cheaply, easily, and at scale

We have developed a technology for reversible adhesion that is based on a paint. We have synthesized complementary emulsions, one of which is decorated with a polycation (positively charged polymer) and the other with a polyanion (negatively charged polymer). These coatings can be painted onto different surfaces and when brought into contact, the opposite charges attract and form a bond. Furthermore, by immersing the bonded surfaces into an alkaline or acidic medium, the bonds fail and the surfaces detach. The detached surfaces can be cleaned using turpentine or a similar solvent, and the previously bonded materials can be recycled. Unlike other water-based glues, this one does not degrade in humid environments. Furthermore, the technology used to create it is very inexpensive and can be scaled. After all, paints are an industrial process. (Paints are more expensive though!) The glue will last for ages. We have seen it is stable for at least a year. The video above describes the glue.

This video shows that the strength of the adhesion is quite decent. We have quantitative data for our forthcoming paper, but this shows simply that it will lift at least 5 kg. It will do better than this, but Adriana's poor fingers can't take any more!

The original phenomenon of pH-induced reversible adhesion was originally described by my team some sixteen years before. Some information about the research is available here. You can see how videos have improved since then too!

A UK patent application has been submitted (P340927GB) and the inventors are Dr Adriana Sierra-Romero, Dr Katarina Novakovic, and Mark Geoghegan.

The publication describing this research has been published in Angewandte Chemie and is free to read.

Content © 2024 Mark Geoghegan or as indicated. The videos were both made by Adriana.
Designed by cookandkaye 2023