Adhesives can be defined as social substances capable to join permanently to surfaces, by an adhesive process. This process involves two dissimilar bodies being held in intimate contact such that mechanical force or work can be transferred across the interface. Since their early discovery by the Egyptians—3300 years ago—intensive research efforts have been made with the purpose of obtaining high-quality, biocompatible adhesives. Bitumen, tree pitches and beeswax—used in ancient and mediaeval times—were replaced by rubber cements and natural and synthetic components; nowadays, the focus is being mostly on eco-friendly adhesives. Starting with a brief history of adhesive use, this chapter then proceeds to cover the main industrial, biomedical and pharmaceutical applications of adhesives. Additionally, we focus on the new generation of adhesives, based on modern technologies such as nanotechnology, derivatised polymers, and biomimetic adhesives. The limited raw materials and the negative impact of synthetic adhesives on both human health and environment impose that further research is conducted with regard to renewable materials, in order to obtain environmentally safe bioadhesives that best fit their applicability domains.
Part of the book: Applied Adhesive Bonding in Science and Technology