Adhesive from University of Waterloo is a novel hydrogel composite that can bond dissimilar materials while submerged in water.


  • Versatile
  • Improved performance


  • Manufacturing
  • Medical treatment

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 9: Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

  • Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption

  • Goal 13: Climate Action


  • Alginate

The Challenge

Adhesives are used many industries and are essential to everyday life. However, traditional adhesives are single-use and often leave a sticky residue once removed. Additionally, many adhesives quickly lose their effectiveness when wet.

Innovation Details

The adhesive is a hydrogel composite glue formed from separate adhesive and precursors. One of the components is a non-adhesive polymer called alginate. Instead of forming chemical bonds, the components form a network during application by coordinating with ferric ions. The sequential deposition of precursors outperformed the direct mixing of components before application. Through this process, the adhesive can bond dissimilar materials completely submerged in water.

Biomimicry Story

Marine mussels have byssal threads that attach to a various surfaces underwater using adhesive proteins that overcome the surface’s attraction to water molecules. Additionally, algae use a sequential deposition to effectively attach to surfaces.