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Biomimetics 2017, 2(3), 16;

Examining Potential Active Tempering of Adhesive Curing by Marine Mussels

Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, 560 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2084, USA
School of Materials Engineering, Purdue University, 701 West Stadium Avenue, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2045, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marco d’Ischia and Daniel Ruiz-Molina
Received: 26 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 August 2017 / Published: 21 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinspired Catechol-Based Systems: Chemistry and Applications)
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Mussels generate adhesives for staying in place when faced with waves and turbulence of the intertidal zone. Their byssal attachment assembly consists of adhesive plaques connected to the animal by threads. We have noticed that, every now and then, the animals tug on their plaque and threads. This observation had us wondering if the mussels temper or otherwise control catechol chemistry within the byssus in order to manage mechanical properties of the materials. Here, we carried out a study in which the adhesion properties of mussel plaques were compared when left attached to the animals versus detached and exposed only to an aquarium environment. For the most part, detachment from the animal had almost no influence on the mechanical properties on low-energy surfaces. There was a slight, yet significant difference observed with attached versus detached adhesive properties on high energy surfaces. There were significant differences in the area of adhesive deposited by the mussels on a low- versus a high-energy surface. Mussel adhesive plaques appear to be unlike, for example, spider silk, for which pulling on the material is needed for assembly of proteinaceous fibers to manage properties. View Full-Text
Keywords: adhesion; adhesive; byssus; catechol; DOPA; mussel; plaque; thread adhesion; adhesive; byssus; catechol; DOPA; mussel; plaque; thread

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Hamada, N.A.; Roman, V.A.; Howell, S.M.; Wilker, J.J. Examining Potential Active Tempering of Adhesive Curing by Marine Mussels. Biomimetics 2017, 2, 16.

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