Turning Wood Waste Into Adhesives

A substance in trees that is usually discarded by paper manufacturers has been used to create adhesives which perform as well as commercially-available products.

Pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs) are used in objects such as labels, packaging, sticky notes, and plastic wraps. They are typically made from polymers derived from petrochemicals, but a team of researchers has developed a method of using lignin, a major component in trees and plants, to create a greener alternative.

Lignin is the most abundant source of aromatic building blocks in nature. It is a waste product in pulp and paper manufacturing that is usually discarded in landfills or burned. This makes it a renewable resource without having to cut down trees to obtain the lignin. Lignin is a natural polymer that has a similar structure and properties to petroleum-derived polymers such as polystyrene and polymethyl methacrylate which are commonly used as adhesives.

The team used lignin sourced from poplar wood, and future work will involve exploring the adhesives that can be made from lignin from other types of wood.

Source: The Chemical Engineer

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