Dental Tribune America

New glue could be dentistry game changer

By Dental Tribune International
December 18, 2019

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Canada: In a recent development that might change the adhesive market within dentistry and other industries, researchers from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Victoria (UVic) have developed a new “hyper-glue”. Researchers hope to make everything from medical implants to protective clothing more corrosion resistant, and have plans for the product to be on the market as soon as possible.

In the study, the team of chemists and composite materials researchers discovered a broadly applicable method of bonding plastics and synthetic fibers at the molecular level in a procedure called cross-linking.

Speaking to Dental Tribune International about the impact the glue might have on the dental industry, lead researcher Prof. Jeremy E. Wulff said, “In principle, the cross-linker could be used to promote adhesion between enamel or other parts of the tooth and a wide variety of synthetic polymers. This could enable the use of more inert polymers in tooth repair and reconstruction than are currently employed. Alternatively, the cross-linker could be used as a strengthening agent for enamel, in much the same way that we currently use it to strengthen polymer fabrics like woven ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene.”

Explaining that traditional adhesives work either by surface-energy effects or by reaction with polar groups on the surface of polymers, Wulff noted: “This is fine for things that have a high surface energy and lots of functional groups. However, many things we’d like to be able to glue like polyethylene and polypropylene don’t have these features and as a result traditional adhesive tend to fail for these materials.”

Although there is a wide range of glues on the market, Wulff said that what sets this new product apart from others is that it reacts by insertion into carbon–hydrogen, oxygen–hydrogen or nitrogen–hydrogen bonds. “Since virtually every polymer (except for Teflon) contains C–H bonds, the cross-linker works to provide good adhesion for pretty much everything. In fact, it works best for things like high-density polyethylene that are extra-troublesome for traditional adhesives,” he explained.

According to Wulff, the product is already playing an important role in the Comfort-Optimized Materials for Operational Resilience, Thermal-transport and Survivability network. Additionally, a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia, UVic and the University of Alberta are collaborating to create high-performance body armor. Epic Ventures, the company that sponsored the research is currently launching a spinoff company called XlynX Materials to commercialize the cross-linker; however, Wulff was not able to comment on when the glue will reach the consumer market.

The study, titled “A broadly applicable cross-linker for aliphatic polymers containing C–H bonds”, was published on Nov. 15, 2019, in Science.

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