Seaweed clue to wet-resistant glue
University of Canterbury postgraduate researcher Anton Mather is investigating New Zealand seaweed to see what lessons can be learned to produce wet-resistant glue.
The biological sciences student is investigating seaweed bio-adhesives that could benefit the marine industry.
There is also potential for the seaweed-based adhesives to be used in the biomedical industry for repair of tissues in place of stitches.
“Seaweed has an ability to adhere to marine surfaces and withstand large tidal forces,” says Mather. “To avoid becoming detached, this kelp produces an extremely strong water-resistant glue anchoring it to the rocks. We are interested in what this glue is made from and the mechanism behind its powerful connection with the surface.”
Preliminary experiments demonstrate that kelp is effective in sticking to glass surfaces. Further tests will establish if the seaweed can attach firmly to plastic and metals.
Biological sciences student Anton Mather.