IT DOESN’T come unstuck when things get sticky. An adhesive with remarkable strength could be ideal for patching people up after surgery.
Most glues are not suited to medical applications: they may be toxic, or fail when exposed to moisture. Others, like fibrin, are costly and not particularly sticky.
But a simple mixture of two cheap, safe chemicals seems to solve these problems, creating an adhesive that sticks to tissues covered in blood or mucus. It is even reusable like a Post-It Note.
Haeshin Lee from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and colleagues mixed tannic acid –an antibacterial compound found in plants that also gives wine its edge – with polyethylene glycol or PEG, which. He called the resulting substance TAPE (Advanced Functional Materials, ).
They tested its ability to stop bleeding by poking a hole in a mouse’s liver and patching it up. After 30 seconds, TAPE-treated mice had bled one-sixth as much as those treated with fibrin. Within 2 minutes, the TAPE mice had stopped bleeding altogether.
This article appeared in print under the headline “In an emergency, put it all on TAPE”
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