The research team, consisting of researchers from Aalto University, the University of Tokyo, Sichuan University and the University of British Columbia, demonstrated that plant-derived cellulose nanocrystals can form a powerful adhesive when mixed with water.
Unlike Superglue, the new eco glue develops its full strength in a preferred direction, similar to “Peel and Stick” adhesives. When trying to separate the glued components along the principal plane of the bond, the strength is more than 70 times higher when compared to the direction perpendicular to that plane. All of this means that just a single drop of the “eco” glue has enough strength to hold up to 90 kg (198 lbs) weight, but can still be easily removed by the touch of a finger, as needed.
Aside from its strength, the new glue has more advantages: because it is biobased and does not contain toxic solvents. The curing time is associated with the evaporation of the water, which means it can be controlled, with, for instance, heat. The production process is also relatively simple compared to other glues, and low-cost.
Image: Aalto University, biobased glue seen through a microscope.