An innovative adhesive inspired by bee spit and flower oil retains its stickiness through a variety of conditions.
A team from Georgia Tech was prompted to develop the adhesive after studying how bees are able to carry their ‘pollen pellets’ on their legs in damp or arid conditions. The team determined that the sticky substance that adheres the pollen to the legs is made up of two components: the bee’s surgery saliva that causes the grains to clump together and the plant-based oil called pollenkitt that coats the grains to prevents moisture from reaching or leaving the pollen.
In tests, separating the oil from the bee’s saliva reduced the adhesive properties by allowing the humidity to increase or decrease—which the team anticipated. Armed with this knowledge, the researchers believe they could create an adhesive with a water barrier and or with a controllable flow and dry time.