Anyone who has ever tried to put on a Band-Aid when their skin is damp knows that it can be frustrating. Wet skin isn’t the only challenge for medical adhesives — the human body is full of blood, serum, and other fluids that complicate the repair of numerous internal injuries. Many of the adhesive products used today are toxic to cells, inflexible when they dry, and do not bind strongly to biological tissue.
A team of researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University has created a super-strong “tough adhesive” that is biocompatible and binds to tissues with a strength comparable to the body’s own resilient cartilage, even when they’re wet. “The key feature of our material is the combination of a very strong adhesive force and the ability to transfer and dissipate stress.”