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New, greener adhesive tape created
published date: 2010/7/21      Hits: 2079

Dr. Li of the College of Forestry attempts to revolutionize, remake tape industry
By Tim Daniel

A new, green adhesive was the result of an unforeseen event that took place in OSU's College of Forestry lab. Kaichang Li, a forestry professor, was working on a new environmentally friendly adhesive that would essentially be hot glue. While Dr. Li did not achieve that particular invention, he was able to create a green pressure sensitive adhesive that has the capacity to replace the current technology completely.

Li's initial project was to make a wood-based hot melt composite adhesive that would be solid at room temperature, but also be able to melt when heated. The new adhesive he created is advantageous not only because it is environmentally friendly, but also because it is made from basic vegetable oils and is much cheaper to produce than current adhesives.

The newly created adhesive is simple, with the ingredients only needing to be mixed, heated and applied, the result being similar to the type of glue found on the back of a sticky note.

"It is very easy to make," Li said of the commercialization of the process. "You put all the ingredients in a pot, heat it up, coat it in a film, then it's ready to go. The process is really simple and really environmentally friendly."

Li also said that the adhesive could be adapted to be stronger or weaker, depending on the application.

Li has previously had his work recognized on the national level. He developed an adhesive that was formaldehyde-free and can be used in the production of plywood and particleboard.

In 2007, he received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the Environmental Protection Agency for his continued work to reduce toxic chemicals in manufacturing processes.

"This pressure adhesive that could go on tape could have a big impact," said Hal Salwasser, dean of the College of Forestry. "The whole beauty of this is that he's coming up with ways to remove the need to use petrochemicals in these products and replace them with renewable biological material . (Li) is extraordinarily creative and innovative, he's inquisitive . He got the idea for the formaldehyde-free adhesive from trying to pull mussels off of rocks."

Denis Sather, an employee from the office of technology transfer, explained the steps the new adhesive would have to go through before it would go into mass production by a company.

According to Sather, the first step that Li's new adhesive would have to go through is to find a company that is willing to do more research with the product, more testing and development, and then adapting it for different services, as well as figuring out what product the adhesive would be best applied to.

A company would also research whether the adhesive would be able to scale up the process so mass quantities of it could be made. An arrangement with a company would also bring a non-disclosure agreement that protects OSU from its product being taken by a company.

The next step is to send out samples to distribution companies and find one to distribute the product. Whichever company is chosen is then given an option agreement so they can evaluate the new technology. Next, a licensing agreement would be created, which would then hand the product over to the company.

However, this may not even occur due to the patent process. While the office of technology transfer has filed for a patent on this technology, it still may take three or four years to get a patent, meaning that if someone else has patented the same product already, the entire process would be a waste.

The newly created adhesive, still in the developmental stages, has the potential to revolutionize the general adhesive market and pull it in a greener direction.

-----July 21, 2010 from

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