Scientists have shown in a paper that plant-based cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) can produce an adhesive that completely incorporates the notions of sustainability, performance, and cost, which are usually incredibly difficult to achieve at the same time.
The research was conducted by experts from Aalto University, the University of Tokyo, Sichuan University and the University of British Columbia, and has been published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Dissimilar to Superglue, the new eco glue produces its complete strength in a certain direction, much alike ‘Peel and Stick’ adhesives. Then attempting to separate the glued elements along the main plane of the bonding, the strength is over 70 times greater in comparison to the direction vertical to that plane.
This means that only one drop of the eco glue has sufficient power to hold about 90 kilograms of weight, but can still be removed with ease when touched with a finger.
Dr. Blaise Tardy from the Aalto Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems said that “the ability to hold this amount of weight with just a few drops is huge, especially from a natural plant-based solution.”
A Simple Approach
These types of attributes are useful in protecting delicate elements in machines that can experience sudden physical shock like high-value parts in microelectronics, to enhance the reusability of valuable structural and ornamental components, in new outputs for packaging and overall, for the development of greener adhesive products.
The team of researchers has proved that their approach is just taking bio-based particles from plants and just adding water.
Aalto Professor Orlando Rojas said: “Reaching a deep understanding on how the cellulose nanoparticles, mixed with water, to form such an outstanding adhesive is a result of the work between myself, Dr. Tardy, Luiz Greca, Professor Hirotaka Ejima, Dr. Joseph J. Richardson and Professor Junling Guo and it highlights the fantastic collaboration and integration of knowledge towards the development of an extremely appealing, low-cost and safe application.”
In addition, the possibility for worldwide utilization is rather appealing considering the ever-increasing manufacturing of cellulose nanocrystals from all over the world, as backed up by incentives in the context of the circular bioeconomy.
“The truly exciting aspect of this is that although our new adhesive can be sourced directly from residual biomass, such as that from the agro-industry or recycled paper, it outperforms currently available commercial synthetic products by a great many measures,” Dr. Tardy added.