Professors Ali Dhinojwala and Todd Blackledge, along with Ph.D. candidate Vasav Sahni, believe they've made a major breakthrough in the study of tiny glue droplets in the webs of common furrow orb-weave spiders.
The trio discovered that the droplets along a spider's silk are both strong enough to stop a flying insect and to hold it from falling out of the web until the spider opts to eat its prey.
More impressive, the droplets function in wet environments.
"It is a pretty amazing glue to have this dual functionality to it," Blackledge said. "It's something that's missing from a lot of our man-made adhesives."
The three believe their research can be the building blocks of a synthetic adhesive that can be used on everything from specialized bandages for wet environments to underwater pipe repair such as the oil crisis in the Gulf.
Anchor Eric Mansfield will have more on the scientists' discover and its application on Channel 3 News at 7.