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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Green adhesives

Thursday, 30 September 2010 | Posted by: Sonja Schulte, European Coatings Journal

Two weeks ago I attended the FEICA European Adhesives & Sealants Conference in Helsinki, Finland. The program was mainly focused on market topics. The good news is that markets for adhesives are growing globally next year. However, I was specially interested in technical trends in adhesive formulation. Apparently, many people are working on bio-based and degradable systems. Experts I talked to expect these products to be available on the market in 1 to 2 years. However, some interessting research results are already available.

Earlier this year I came across with a news on a bio-based adhesive which has been accidentally discovered by researchers at Oregon State University, USA. They  produced a new pressure-sensitive adhesive that may revolutionize the tape industry – an environmentally benign product that works very well and costs much less than existing adhesives based on petrochemicals.The new adhesive can be produced from a range of vegetable oils, and may find applications for duct tape, packaging tape, stick-on notes, labels, even postage stamps – almost any type of product requiring a pressure-sensitive adhesive.The discovery was made essentially by accident while the scientists were looking for something that could be used in a wood-based composite product – an application that would require the adhesive to be solid at room temperature and melt at elevated temperatures.For that, the new product was a failure.
"We were working toward a hot-melt composite adhesive that was based on inexpensive and environmentally friendly vegetable oils," said Kaichang Li, a professor of wood science and engineering in the OSU College of Forestry. "But what we were coming up with was no good for that purpose, it wouldn't work.Then I noticed that at one stage of our process this compound was a very sticky resin," Li said. "I told my postdoctoral research associate, Anlong Li, to stop right there. We put some on a piece of paper, pressed it together and it stuck very well, a strong adhesive."
The new approach  is based on a different type of polymerization process and produces pressure-sensitive adhesives that could be adapted for a wide range of uses, perform well, cost much less, and would be made from renewable crops such as soy beans, corn or canola oil, instead of petroleum-based polymers.
In Europe too, bio-based adhesives have been developed, e.g. at the VTT in Finland.
Here, you'll find some information on a starch-based adhesive.
http://www.vtt.fi/files/services/ipr/miscallaneous/bio_based_adhesives.pdf

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Author

Sonja Schulte
European Coatings Journal
Sonja Schulte
Editor-in-Chief, Science & Technology
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