Electric Glue

The electrocuring adhesive is synthesized by grafting carbene precursors on polyamidoamine dendrimers and dissolving in aqueous solvents to form viscous gels. Activation initiation and propagation are observed to be voltage and time dependent, enabling tuning of both material properties and adhesive strength. nature

Contrary to popular belief, more durable adhesion results from soft viscoelastic adhesives than hard, highly crosslinked structural adhesives. Adhesives with low moduli and viscoelastic properties—capable of plastic deformation—display superior long-term durability compared with rigid adhesives that are sensitive to shock (that is, pressure sensitive adhesive ‘duct tapes’ versus cyanoacrylate ‘superglues’).

However, no conventional adhesives allow a stable choice of adhesive modulus and viscoelastic properties towards the substrate at hand. Herein we have demonstrated an electrocuring adhesive that incorporates this flexible tuning of material properites and a novel on-demand method of adhesive activation.

The electrocuring adhesive has immediate implications in manufacturing and development of implantable bioadhesives.


Any adhesive will cold-flow unless it employs some activation, typically chemical, involving mixing of ingredients. Activation in a wet environment is complicated by binding to water molecules rather than the desired substrate. Electric activation would have application in any fluid environment from animal to ocean.