International Symposium Biomaterials and Hamburg Macromolecular Symposium location:Hamburg, Germany date:1-4 October 2006
Biopolymers in aqueous solution have a wide range of applications as their highly tailored designs lead to sophisticated material properties  for the daily fight of survival. Snails employ a unique combination of polysaccharides and proteins to produce a mucus with material properties that allow for the stunning capability to crawl on vertical walls or even overhead without loosing contact to the surface. In this paper we present rheological investigations  of the material properties of minute amounts of mucus under nonlinear deformation conditions as they are created under the snail foot. For this purpose we present a new technique  that enables the investigation in natural film thicknesses of 10 – 20 m. The time and strain-dependent structural changes of the complex mucus gels, presented in the form of Pipkin diagrams , show how the deformation of the snail foot exploits the physically-crosslinked structure of the aqueous mucin gels to obtain a maximum adhesion with minimum energy consumption during locomotion.
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