Earth-friendly tape adhesive devised at OSU
By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
A mishap in an Oregon State University lab led to the discovery of an environmentally friendly adhesive that may leave its mark on the tape industry.
The new adhesive, made cheaply from vegetable oils, can be used for duct tape, packaging tape, stick-on notes or anything else that uses a pressure-sensitive adhesive. Oregon State University quoted analysts Tuesday pegging the adhesive industry at $26 billion.
The discovery was made in the lab of Kaichang Li, whose work with Columbia Forest Products to use the adhesive power in mussels to devise a new, non-toxic plywood adhesive earned him the 2007 Presidential Green Chemistry award from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Scientists were looking for something that could be used in another wood-based composite product.
“We were working toward a hot-melt composite adhesive that was based on inexpensive and environmentally friendly vegetable oils,” said Li, who is a professor of wood science and engineering in the OSU College of Forestry, in a press release. “But what we were coming up with was no good for that purpose, it wouldn’t work.”
But the adhesive, which was simple to make and, negating the need for petrochemicals, completely renewable, worked great on paper.
There have been previous attempts to make pressure-sensitive adhesives from vegetable oils, Li said, but they used the same type of polymerization chemistry as the acrylate-based petrochemicals now used to make tape. They didn’t cost much less or perform as well, he said.
OSU has applied for a patent on the technology and is looking for an appropriate business partner to further develop and commercialize the adhesive.
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