Like many graduate students, Gaoxiang Wu’s desk was often in disarray. When he finally got around to sifting through the clutter in his desk drawer at the Univ. of Pennsylvania (UPenn), he unearthed a hydrogel sample sandwiched between two glass slides.
For months, Wu had been studying the material’s mechanical stability and structure as part of his graduate engineering research. When he tried to unstick the slides by pulling them apart, the glass cracked and then shattered.
Astonished by the adhesive strength of the hydrogel, Wu resolved to answer a vital question: How much force would it take to break the bond? In partnership with researchers from Lehigh Univ., Wu and his team discovered that the material had an adhesive strength comparable to that of a superglue, along with other unique properties...
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