Bioadhesion of Mussels and Geckos: Molecular Mechanics, Surface Chemistry, and Nanoadhesives

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The adhesive strategies of living creatures are diverse, ranging from temporary to permanent adhesions with various functions such as locomotion, self-defense, communication, colony formation, and so on. The classic example of temporary adhesion is the gecko, which is known for its ability to walk along vertical and even inverted surfaces; this remarkable adhesion arises from the interfacial weak interactions of van der Waals and capillary forces. In contrast, a celerbrated example of permanent adhesion is found in marine mussels which secrete protein adhesives that function in aqueous environments without mechanical failure against turbulent conditions on the seashore. In addition, mussel adhesives stick to virtually all inorganic and organic surfaces. However, most commonly used man-made adhesives lack such unique adhesion properties compared to their natural counterparts. For example, many commercial adhesives quickly lose their adhesive strength when exposed to solvents, particularly water. The first part of this thesis focused on adhesion mechanics of mussels at a single-molecule level, in which the adhesive molecule showed surprisingly strong yet reversible adhesion on inorganic surfaces but exhibited irreversible covalent bond formation on organic surfaces. Strong and reversible adhesion on mucin surfaces was found, indicating potential application for drug delivery via mucus layers. Next, inspired by the mussel's versatile adhesion on a wide variety of material surfaces, a material-independent surface modification chemistry called 'polydopamine coating' is described. This concept was subsequently adapted to develop a surface-independent polymeric primer for layer-by-layer assembly of multifunctional coatings. Finally, a new bio-hybrid adhesive 'geckel' was developed by the functional combination of adhesion strategies of geckos and mussels. The new bio-inspired adhesive and material-independent surface chemistry can revolutionize the research areas such as medical devices, adhesives, and diagnostics, nanotechnology, biointerface, and catalysis.

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  • 09/11/2018
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