Safer Versatile Adhesives
Safer, versatile adhesives: Adhesives manufacturers deal with a multitude of toxic chemicals, from solvents to reactive additives. And the process of manufacturing adhesives can be quite dangerous - as evidenced by the Bostik explosion in 2011. Typical adhesive formulations include the isocyanates (which are toxic and asthmagens), formaldehyde (a known human carcinogen) , and endocrine disrupting chemicals like bisphenol A. Other formulations exist that are less of a human or ecological concern, but they tend to have only limited, highly specific, application. This research would utilize the fundamentals of green chemistry to develop a safer formulation, based on aliphatic thiols (common in natural minerals) and disulfide (a component of hair that impacts its natural curl). Dr. Daniel Schmidt, UMass Lowell Professor of Plastics Engineering, will be looking at plant oils as possible feedstocks for the polymer network of the adhesive, and will attempt to synthesize the new adhesive in a neutral aqueous solution. Dr. Schmidt will be collaborating with ITW Devcon on this research.