Mussel Polymers Inc. (MPI), a startup created by technology development company Wardenclyffe Chemicals Inc., has licensed patented underwater adhesive technology from the Purdue Research Foundation. The technology, which is based on a glue used naturally by marine creatures, was created by Jonathan Wilker, a Purdue University professor of chemistry and materials engineering, with students in his laboratory.

The adhesive is called poly(catechol-styrene). It was engineered to mimic the glue that mussels naturally use to attach to substrates in the ocean. The research effort that led to the development of the adhesive lasted over a decade and was supported with $2 million from the Office of Naval Research.

“We have been studying sea creatures, how they stick, and designing synthetic mimics of these materials,” Wilker said. “Now we are quite excited to move these new materials from the research lab into the marketplace. There is potential here to impact several industries, including products that people use in their daily lives.”

The team behind Mussel Polymers licensed the technology through the Purdue Research Foundation’s Office of Technology Commercialization. “The entire Purdue Research Foundation and OTC teams were extraordinary in helping us move through the process of licensing this technology, laying the groundwork for taking it to market,” said George Boyajian, CEO of Wardenclyffe. “The adhesive technology addresses a range of previously unsolvable wet adhesion problems in a variety of industries from biomedical to aerospace to automotive to cosmetics and construction.”

Wardenclyffe recently received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop this adhesive system for use in the restoration of coral reefs. For more information, visit and



New Underwater Adhesive Licensed by Chemistry Startup



Jonathan Wilker, Purdue University professor of chemistry and materials engineering, explains the development process and application opportunities for a newly developed underwater adhesive. (Video prepared by Erin Easterling, digital producer for Purdue’s College of Engineering.)