OSU Develops Natural Adhesive, Alternative To Petrochemicals

Chemical engineering researchers at Oregon State University have developed a new adhesive derived from vegetable oil which could serve as a replacement for petrochemical-based adhesives currently used in bandages and sticky notes.

OSU chemical engineering professor Kaichang Li told reporters their “pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs),” a material used for products like stamps or shipping and packaging tape, are “the only vegetable-oil-based, biodegradable and commercially viable PSAs in the world.”

The new PSAs are also easily processed, able to be cured under one second of ultraviolet light, giving them a competitive manufacturing edge against traditional adhesives. This is potentially big, as the collective industries currently producing petrochemical PSAs make billions in sales annually.

Li’s team created the adhesive according to the specifications of an unnamed Portland company, whose clients include semiconductor manufacturers.

Li himself has been developing environmentally friendly adhesive products for over a decade, previously earning awards for his work with nontoxic plywood adhesives, including soybean-based adhesives.

By Ian MacRonald