Stuck, Scientists Discover New Adhesive

CORVALLIS, Ore., July 7 (UPI) — An accidental find in a wood products lab produced a new, environmentally friendly pressure-sensitive adhesive, Oregon State University said.

The new adhesive, which costs less than existing petrochemical-based adhesives, can be produced from a range of vegetable oils and could be used for duct or packing tape, sticky notes, labels and postage stamps, the university said Tuesday in a release.

The discovery happenstance occurred when OSU scientists were looking for something that could be used in a wood-based composite product — an application requiring the adhesive to be solid at room temperature but melt as the temperature increases, the university said.

“We were working toward a hot-melt composite adhesive that was based on inexpensive and environmentally friendly vegetable oils,” Kaichang Li, a professor of wood science and engineering in the OSU College of Forestry, said, adding that the result wasn’t good for that purpose.

But from lemons, the scientists made lemonade. Or adhesive, as the case may be.

“Then I noticed that at one stage of our process this compound was a very sticky resin,” Li said. “We put some on a piece of paper, pressed it together and it stuck very well, a strong adhesive.”

Li said he and his post-doctorate research associate, Anlong Li, worked to develop a pressure-sensitive adhesive of the type used on many forms of tape, labels and notepads.

“This adhesive is incredibly simple to make, doesn’t use any organic solvents or toxic chemicals, and is based on vegetable oils that would be completely renewable, not petrochemicals,” the professor said. “It should be about half the cost of existing technologies and appears to work just as well.”

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Categorized | Chemicals, Engineering, Other
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