The last half century has seen a tremendous advancement in adhesives technology and has led to widespread replacement of mechanical fasteners with adhesive bonds (e.g. aircraft, automobile, construction, etc.). Bonding to wet, rough and fouled surfaces, however, remains challenging and adhesive technology is  rarely applied for bonding in wet conditions, such as in (orthopaedic) medicine. Therefore, a need exists to educate young researchers in this interdisciplinary research field of controlling adhesion under wet conditions and to bridge the gap between the fundamentals of underwater adhesives and their practice.

BioSmartTrainee is set up to provide such training by a combination of three complementary scientific fields: polymer science, adhesion and (fluid)-biomechanics. We aim
  • to (i) extract principles from biological systems and mimic them to design synthetic materials;
  • to (ii) experimentally test their adhesion properties in wet conditions and
  • to (iii) clarify the adhesion mechanisms based on natural examples and theoretical modelling.
These innovative adhesives will be useful for reversible attachment to a variety of surfaces in wet environments and, therefore, be highly relevant for products from European industry such as technological adhesives, coatings, tissue adhesives, wound dressings or transdermal delivery devices. This carefully planned research and training program in a network of leading academic and industrial (BASF, AkzoNobel, UGRO) partners will ensure that young researchers are given an excellent training in a pioneering research domain of high scientific and technological relevance, where Europe can take a leading position.

The BioSmartTrainee programme includes six work packages:
  • WP 1: POLYMER SCIENCE: Bio-inspired smart materials with tunable adhesion
  • WP 2: ADHESION: Testing under wet conditions
  • WP 3: (FLUID) Biomechanics/Modelling
  • WP 4: Training Activities for ESRs
  • WP 5: Dissemination and Outreach Activities
  • WP 6: Management