Adhesives: “The focus is clearly on resource efficiency”

Debonding on demand is one of the key trends in adhesives, says Dr Matthias Popp of the Fraunhofer IFAM Institute in Germany. What is the current status quo and other developments in adhesives?

Dr Matthias Popp

What is the current focus of research and development in the field of adhesives?

Dr Matthias Popp: At the moment, the focus at our institute is clearly on resource efficiency. This is not only due to the current funding landscape, but also to a still growing interest on the part of industry. In my opinion, “push marketing” has clearly been replaced by “pull marketing”. This is especially true for polyurethane adhesives, where bio-based polyols have been established for some time.

There are also promising solutions in the field of epoxy adhesives, which include not only the epoxy resins but also the hardeners.

Which functionalities are currently in focus?

Popp: Currently there are many requests for adhesives that can be debonded at the “push of a button” (debonding on demand). This is not a new topic, but it is still mainly in the area of academic research. Many interesting papers on the modification of raw materials with reversible bonds have been published in the last few years.

To what extent is the trend towards sustainability discernible in this area?

Popp: The interest in adhesives with debonding-on-demand properties is, among other things, also due to directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment, i.e. the effort to push the recycling economy.

In addition, fast and user-friendly repair solutions are also in demand, for instance in the automotive industry. The development of systems that undergo a drastic change in properties (debonding) due to a thermal trigger, which on the one hand lies far outside the application temperature range and on the other hand does not stress the joining parts, is still challenging.

You will be the speaker at the European Coatings Short Course Online Advanced Adhesives on February 16. What can participants expect?

Popp: The virtual advanced short course will be focused on academic research in debonding-on-demand.

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