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University of Akron Receives Funding from NSF to Develop Waterproof Adhesives from Soybean Oil

Published on 2015-08-13. Author : SpecialChem

A team of University of Akron (UA) faculty has received $390,000 in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding to design and evaluate waterproof medical adhesives made from soybean oil.

Waterproof Adhesives from Soybean Oil
Fig. 1: Waterproof Adhesives from Soybean Oil

Nature provides spectacular examples of adhesives that work extraordinarily well in wet and harsh conditions. Mussels stick to boats and rocks by secretion of protein-based adhesives that demonstrate adhesion even in the harsh marine environment.

Inspired by these marine creatures, Dr. Abraham Joy and Dr. Ali Dhinojwala and their teams have developed a synthetic mimic of mussel adhesives using soybean oil as a starting material, which is a renewable resource. Joy is an assistant professor of polymer science, and Dhinojwala is the H.A. Morton Professor of Polymer Science.

Adhesives, a multi-billion dollar industry, are made from petroleum-based starting materials, which is a depleting resource. Therefore, replacing with widely available and sustainable materials such as soybean oil provides with dual advantages of an adhesive that works in aqueous conditions and a high-value medical product.

“Our long term goal is to understand the molecular basis of adhesives that are effective in wet environments," says Joy. "The knowledge gained from such studies will provide the foundation for designing adhesives for various challenging applications — such as medical adhesives that will function in presence of body fluids.”

The team will use the NSF grant to gain a better understanding of the chemical and physical processes that are responsible for strong adhesion of this soybean oil-based adhesive in wet conditions.

NSF awards enable graduate students to gain expertise in techniques and methodologies that are at the cutting edge of their field. In addition, this award will provide research opportunities for undergraduate and high school students.

About UA

The University of Akron, Ohio’s Polytechnic University, is the region’s most influential public research university, contributing to the resurgence of the local economy, providing a workforce highly trained in diverse disciplines, and known for an innovative approach to higher education.

With nearly 26,000 students and more than 300 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate and law degree programs, UA offers career-focused and experiential learning that defines the polytechnic approach to education.

Source: University of Akron (UA)

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