Greener homes, greener economy

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Mussels inspired OSU's Kaichang Li to create a wood adhesive now used in plywood panels sold by Columbia Forest Products.
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Revolutionary adhesive developed at the FRL creates jobs and reduces hazardous emissions.

The environmentally friendly, cost-competitive adhesive 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% in mills and homes.

Professor Kaichang Li of OSU’s Forest Research Laboratory worked collaboratively with private industry to develop a unique curing agent that is able to convert inexpensive, abundant soybean flour into a superior adhesive for bonding wood composite panels such as plywood and particleboard.

The award-winning, non-toxic adhesive modeled after mussel adhesive protein has been used to produce more than 30 million hardwood plywood panels for the green building industry in the last four years. New products made from the adhesive have allowed manufacturers to maintain 1,700 jobs in four states, including Oregon, during the economic downturn.

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