World Teen - Main Article
Signup Teachers & Parents
Spider Web Inspires Surgical Tape
News Bytes 11/11/2019 33 Comments

Researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) may have found a solution to a slippery problem. They’ve developed a double-sided adhesive tape to use in surgical situations. The difference between this tape and previous versions is that this one stays put when it gets wet. Others slip and slide off before the wound heals. What makes this one work so well? The researchers studied one of God’s super-sticky designs in nature: spider silk.

Spider webs can trap insects in almost any kind of weather—including when it’s damp or outright wet out. That’s just one of the characteristics that makes spider silk fascinating to scientists. (See “Secrets of Spider Silk” for more.) It’s also known for its incredible strength and versatility.

The MIT team studied the way that spider webs wick away moisture from prey even as it crawls across the strands. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the scientists discovered that spider webs use charged polysaccharides to do this. Polysaccharides are molecules of carbohydrates, often with enzymes attached to them. This fascinating creation from the arachnid can draw liquid away from its surface just before the sticky part binds to the subject it traps.

Back at the lab, the MIT team worked to produce their own synthetic polysaccharides. They mimic the natural ones made by spiders. They used some known technology too—such as the material used inside baby diapers to absorb lots of liquid. Another chemical forms the sticky bond to hold the new bandage to the patient’s wound after the moisture is quickly removed.

Study author Xuanhe Zhao is a mechanical engineer at MIT. He says the tape is favorable to typical sutures (also known as “stitches” or “staples”) used to close wounds. Those methods put pressure on delicate tissues and can exacerbate pain in healing. They also create a series of additional wounds that can invite infection and leave more scarring.

The team has experimented with success using the tape in pigs. It has worked to repair skin and internal organ incisions. It has not yet been tried on humans.

(MIT engineers have devised a double-sided adhesive that can seal tissues together. Felice Frankel, Christine Daniloff, MIT)

Leave a comment
  • Be respectful of everyone, including other readers as well as individuals in the news stories. Disagree politely.
  • Do not post links to websites outside of WORLDteen.
  • Keep personal information such as full name, age, location, and contact information private.
  • Read your comment before posting to be sure you have typed what you wish to say in public.
Sorry you are not allowed to publish comments. If this is the first time you are seeing this message please log out and back in. If you continue to see this message and believe this to be in error please reach out to member services.

Most recent comments

Ok.... I guess this is good.

I guess this is good.


That's pretty interesting, and I'm glad they're using spider web silk to help with wounds.

I think that this is a great

I think that this is a great discovery; however, I don't think I would want to be the first one to try it.

Great! Have any of you had

Great! Have any of you had stitches or staples? One of my friends had 4 staples in her head once.

No I haven't had any staples

No I haven't had any staples or stitches. I have never broken any of my bones either. Have any of you?


I think...yes..that's..good....?
I have sprained my ankle before. (over a soccer ball). Do any of you know hot to write in Italects?

Reminds me

Reminds me of this

@Nadia A

how do you do the little smiley faces (not these:-))

@ Glorianna

ok. for a regular computer keyboard. You hold down the Alt button by the space bar and press 1 then let go of the Alt and it should be a ☺ press 2 for a ☻ 3 for a ♥ 5=♣ 6=♠ 7=• 8=◘ 9=○ I hope that helped.

That's cool! I haven't ever

That's cool! I haven't ever gotten stitches or staples. I crashed a dirt bike into the woods and banged up my leg pretty bad on a tree but it didn't need stitches! Oh oops I didn't know the editors said not to comment on that article!! LOL


That's so weird it doesn't work on my PC!

To Above

oh! ☺☻♥♦♣♠•◘○ lol


Wow! Lol!

I have had to get stiches

I have had to get stiches twice. Once for my head, I was running in high heels and I slipped and hit my head on my dresser. And once for my finger, my little brother blended it in our blender. Oh and also one time my uncle fell on me and broke wrist. Also I have done a few other things but I didn't need stiches. My dad just used super glue.
As for the article, I think this will help and that it's a good idea.

@Emelia G

Wow! Did it hurt a lot when he blended it in the blender?

Beth G

Okay so it was one of the hand blenders that you hold in your hand and push the button on the side.I was making banana bread and he was helping me, whenI looked down at the recipe I set my hand down near the blender andhe just slid it overmy finger and clisked the button. It actually didn't hurt very much because it messed up my nevers (I still don't have full feeling in that hand.) I didn't even feel it at all until I looked down at it and then I just started screaming. My mom ran in and looked at it and then took me to my dads station to ask him if he thought I needed stitches. He tooked the towel that I was using to stop the blood off and imeaditally goes, 'Yeah take her to the emergency room right now.' So my mom did and I got I think like 5 or 6 stiches.

Also all the nurses in the

Also all the nurses in the hospital kept making jokes and saying "If you were making banana bread why didn't you bring us any." It was annoying me so much. Lol, I was like you seriously want banana bread with blood in it?


Wow!! Yikes! How long ago did it happen?

Beth G

I think two years? Maybe three?

Beth H

Sorry! The above comment was to Beth H

@Emelia G


@ Emilia!

yikes!! that's making me cringe!!! I only sprained my ankle


Do most of you guys live in the country or woods or something?


I live in the woods about six miles out of town and kinda up a mountain! Lol


Oh and also, that’s incredible that you still can’t feel the nerves. The nerves in my leg are a little messed up too. (From when I crashed a dirt bike) I’ll prob have a scar for a long time.

@ Emilia G

No. : (I live in the city. The 2nd biggest city in Indiana!! I would LOVE to live out in the country or in the woods. but nope. Our back yard backs up to a major roadway!! So it's soooo loud!!


That's pretty cool they made this tape out of spider web's a little gross to though. I wonder if it will work the same way on humans as it works on pigs?

@Emelia G

I don't.

@ Emelia

I live in a town. It's kind of in the country side. We have nothing behind out back garden except trees and trees, and more trees! We live in area ( ok it's called Lowerhouses and it's in Huddersfield, England, you'll be able to find it on google maps, then you'll get a better idea of what I'm talking about) that is surrounded by trees. I don't live near any mountain but Huddersfield is very hilly. BTW i basically live on the top of a hill! My street is a hill! To walk down the street you have to either go uphill or downhill. But at least you get more excersice! :-P

@Mirela J

I looked it up and I see what you're talking about. It is usually not a good idea to tell anyone online where you live.


Yeah just to be safe!

@ BethSarah G : stitches

I've gotten two stitches in my mouth, one inside and one outside (I'd poked a hole through my cheek with my tooth) and once I broke my elbow and had to have surgery. So I got about 30 or 40 stitches. then I had to have another surgery to get the pins, screw, and wire out, so I got about 20 more stitches

@Emelia G

I live in a tiny "suburb" of a large city, but it's sort of a country neighborhood. We have two acres. So it's not really in the country, but not in the city either

Check out one of the interesting topics below
Explain IT!

Explain-IT trains you to understand the how’s and why’s of man-made inventions and ideas.

Learn More
Pop Smart

Pop! SMART provides tools that equip teenagers with the kinds of insights they need to wisely navigate today’s popular culture in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Learn More
Pie in the Sky

Everyone daydreams, and as it should be. Good dreams aside, our culture is a natural enemy of serenity and hope. God has equipped you for great things.

Learn More
People Mover

True stories are incredibly powerful. They bring meaning to our lives—communicating the truths we can’t afford to live without.

Learn More
Mud Room

Mud Room helps you relate to the news by exploring the details behind the stories in the headlines that relate to earth sciences.

Learn More
Globe Trek

Globe Trek will take you from the living room sofa to the mountains of Uzbekistan and from the screen of their smart phone to a Chilean plantation.

Learn More
Ka Ching!

ka-Ching! takes a look at important principles of money and economics through relatable examples from everyday life.

Learn More
Law 'N Order

Law ‘N Order captures your imagination through civics, focusing on the idea that everyone can make a difference in life.

Learn More

User login