Environmentally friendly wood adhesive is a commercial hit

Mussels inspired OSU's Kaichang Li to create a wood adhesive used in plywood.
Mussels inspired OSU's Kaichang Li to create a wood adhesive now used in plywood panels. (Photo: Oregon State University)

OSU's revolutionary adhesive reduces hazardous emissions, creates jobs

Formaldehyde is widely used in building materials and household products. But exposure to high levels of formaldehyde emissions can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat, and may cause some types of cancers. Legislation limiting emissions from composite wood products was signed into law in 2010.

With this in mind, Kaichang Li, a scientist with OSU's Forest Research Laboratory, developed a revolutionary, formaldehyde-free, nontoxic adhesive for wood composites that meets the needs of the composites manufacturing industry. Together with industry partners, he has commercialized an environmentally friendly adhesive, solely based on natural materials classified by the federal government as safe, for the production of wood composite panels such as plywood.

The cost-competitive adhesive, which was inspired by the way mussels cling tightly to rocks on the Oregon coast, has generated a wave of new businesses and green products that have reduced formaldehyde emissions by over 90 percent in mills and homes. Plywood panels bonded with this adhesive are marketed as "PureBond" by Columbia Forest Products, the leading manufacturer of hardwood plywood in North America, with a significant operation in Oregon. The adhesive, which won the Presidential Green Chemistry Award, has been used to produce millions of hardwood plywood panels.

Source: Kaichang Li

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