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This scanning electron micrograph image shows bone glue, which can help bone resist fracture and can heal itself when its bonds break. Image credit: Paul Hansma, et al. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact 2005; (5)4:313-315.
In trying to create a “glue” that would hold right up to the breaking point of the material being glued, scientists have found that such an ideal adhesive already exists—in bone, abalone shells, and spider silk, to name a few areas.
“It’s important to make a composite material without compromising the material’s properties of the strong components, such as the nanotube or graphene sheet,” Hansma explained to PhysOrg.com. Optimal glue would enable these materials to retain their intrinsic properties—especially strength.
As Hansma et al. explain in their paper in Nanotechnology, optimized adhesives can hold together strong elements of materials, and yield just before these elements would break, so as not to cause the entire structure to break.