AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: Adhesive

Sticky Mussels and Sensitive Teeth


Do you ever fell discomfort while eating a certain type of food? According to a recent study a substance similar to one found in nature may be able to prevent tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is a problem that millions of people face on a daily bases. This pain can be caused by consuming hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks, or even by breathing cold air.

Tooth sensitivity occurs when “the hard outer enamel layer on teeth and the softer underlying dentin wear away, stimulating the nerves inside.”  Quan-Li Li and  Chun Hung Chu are currently researching a sticky substance like the one mussels use to stick to a substance in the water. This substance will allow minerals to stick to teeth for a long enough period of time for the dentin and the enamel to rebuild. This would be a huge step in the recovery of teeth that have been worn down, being the first product to be able to help teeth rebuild the worn down dentin. There are some products out there that help rebuild enamel, but the damaged dentin still remains untouched.

The work with this new substance may lead to other medical discoveries that can take advantage of this super adhesive. Personally I believe that the work being done with this new substance will help save toothaches and maybe even lives all over the world.

Walking on Walls


Photo Credit: dirk huijssoon flickr

Have you ever wished you could walk on walls? Ever wished you could get your new plasma TV on the wall and be able to easily move it later? Well, now you can do both of those things. Using the gecko‘s feet as a model, scientists were able to replicate the adhesive mechanism that geckos use to get around.

The gecko’s feet can stick to almost any smooth surface whether it be vertical, horizontal, slanted, or curved. In addition, they never leave any sticky residue behind and never have trouble moving. The ability to put things, particularly heavy things, on walls and easily remove them later without any damage is something that everyone would like to be able to do. Scientists researched the intricate mechanisms in the geckos feet to determine how the gecko can firmly stick to smooth surfaces and move so easily. They determined that it was a combination of the pads on the gecko’s feet along with the arrangement of tendons and muscles in the feet. This new idea allowed scientists to develop an adhesive, “Geckskin”, that could stick to a smooth surface, hold 700 pounds, and be easily removed. This new adhesive is still being perfected but soon you could actually be able to walk on walls, just like the gecko.

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