Enhancement of the Adhesive Properties by Optimizing the Water Content in PNIPAM-Functionalized Complex Coacervates

Marco Dompe, Mehdi Vahdati, Froukje Van Ligten, Francisco J. Cedano Serrano, Dominique Hourdet, Costantino Creton, Marco Zanetti, Pierangiola Bracco, Jasper van der Gucht, Thomas Kodger, Marleen Kamperman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
110 Downloads (Pure)


Most commercially available soft tissue glues offer poor performance in the human body. We have developed an injectable adhesive whose setting mechanism is activated by a change in environmental factors, i.e., temperature and/or ionic strength. The material and setting process are inspired by the adhesive processing mechanism observed in natural maritime glues. Complex coacervation, a liquid-liquid phase separation between oppositely charged polyelectrolytes, is thought to play an important role in the processing. Complex coacervates are characterized by a high water content, which inevitably weakens the glue. Here, we aim to increase the adhesive performance by systematically tuning the water content. Among the several strategies here explored, the most effective one is the mechanical removal of water using an extruder, resulting in an increase of work of adhesion by 1 order of magnitude compared to the original formulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1722-1730
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2020


  • complex coacervation
  • water content
  • underwater adhesion
  • extrusion
  • bioinspired adhesives
  • TACK

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