University of Victoria researchers are celebrating a sticky success.
A team of chemists and composite materials researchers from UVic and the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Okanagan campus have developed a strong, corrosion-resistant ‘hyper-glue’ for use in things such as protective clothing, medical implants and residential plumbing.
With the discovery of ‘cross-linking’ – the bonding of plastics and synthetic fibres at the molecular level – the team made an impact and corrosion-resistant adhesive, activated by heat or long-wave UV light.
“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 a statement from Jeremy Wulff, UVic organic chemistry professor. “At the same time, the cross-linker provides additional material strength to the fabric itself.”
The adhesive turned out to be particular effective in a plastic used in bottles, piping and plastic lumber – materials resistant to all commercially available glues.
The hyper-glue discovery is already being used by the COMFORTS network, a team of UVic, UBC and University of Alberta researchers collaborating on the creation of high-performance body armour. It will help with the creation of materials that don’t peel and bonding that dosen’t break down.
“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,” says Professor Abbas Milani, director of UBC’s Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute. “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.”
The research was published recently in the journal Science.
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