New adhesive could aid recycling
12 October 2001, source edie newsroom
Process of using the new glue, ending in its removal
“Our approach to a removable adhesive relies on the use of a reversible chemistry that breaks apart the adhesive at elevated temperatures, resulting in low adhesive molecular weight and low bond strength,” said research team leader Jim Aubert.
The unheated adhesive has a rubber-band like texture, and can be prepared in any size and thickness, and can be cut to match objects being attached. The adhesive has been successfully applied to a number of metals and also some foams and polymers. Aubert notes, however, that the adhesive only has the ability to bond and un-bond a limited number of times, and at some point will become nonremovable.
The new adhesive has a number of potential applications, including upgrading of components should new technology become available, and re-building if defects are discovered after deployment. Coatings can also be applied to circuit boards to provide protection from the environment, mainly moisture, debris and chemicals, say the researchers. Currently, traditional, almost indestructible epoxy adhesives mean that recycling of circuit boards is not possible (see related story).
“Normally, no thought is given to disassembly after bonding parts with an epoxy,” said Aubert. “Yet disassembly is becoming an increasingly important aspect of manufacturing as we become more concerned with the cradle-to-grave aspect of materials for environmental and economic reasons.”
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