Characterizing Spider Glue Properties by Manipulation of Large Glue Volumes

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Aaina Gupta, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH and Ali Dhinojwala, Polymer Science, The University of Akron, Akron, OH
Many glues have a one thing in common: the reduction of adherence under high humidity environment. However, Larinioides cornutus catch insects using glue even under humid conditions. Throughout the web, there are glue droplets that are similar in size and evenly spaced. It is important to study the properties of the glue because it will allow us to develop a glue with similar properties. The glue on the underlying flagelliform can be described as a bead on a string and they are made up of different proteins, which makes it difficult to analyze the glue alone. My project this summer sought out the problem of transferring the glue to a substrate to collect the glue in bulk quantities, something that has not been reported in literature before, for analysis without the flagelliform transferring. From recent studies, it was found that at high humidity the fluidity of the glue increases and allows the glue to properly adhere to different surfaces. Through many modifications, I was able to make an apparatus that allowed for the glue transfer at high humidity. By comparing the untouched slide with glue slide, it was concluded that the glue had transferred successfully. This was able to occur because the glue has a property known as cohesive failure. With the success of the transfer, we had the ability to analyze the properties of the glue further. Now we can test the surface energy of the glue through JKR and quantify the viscoelasticity of the glue through particles transfer.