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New super glue only becomes sticky when crushed

With safety in mind and to avoid the problems of fingers sticking together or the issue of the cap on a tube of adhesive being glued in place, Japanese researchers, Gizmodo reports, have come up with something very novel: a glue that is dry until the powder is crushed.

Scientists have previously created glues that are stable and non-sticky at room temperature; however, these chemicals require heat in order to transform the solid into a glue. This might work out in a workshop but it is not really suitable for the home.

In a new take on the dry glue approach, researchers from the Osaka Institute of Technology have developed small balls of material that transform into glue when they are rubbed together and it is only mechanical action that makes them sticky. What is actually happening is beads of liquid latex, coated in calcium-carbonate nanoparticles, are forced open to reveal the liquid inside. A crushing action is required, meaning the balls can be stored in a jar or even carried in the hand. They won’t become a glue until they are crushed.

The process of adding the liquid into the spheres is described as “shell morphology.” As for the adhesive, it is said to be very sticky and suitable for many applications, including binding paper, plastic and card. The inventors hope the particles can be used for getting adhesive into odd shapes or tight spaces.

The adhesive is based on “liquid marble technology.” New Scientists describes this as “beads of liquid coated in solid particles that trap the fluid inside.”

The new development is reported to the journal Materials Science, in a paper titled “Pressure-sensitive adhesive powder.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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