Today’s Solutions: November 26, 2022

While it’s good that there are plastics that biodegrade when they’re thrown away, the glue used to join pieces of those or other materials together isn’t quite so eco-friendly. Scientists have recently set about addressing that problem, however, by developing a biodegradable adhesive.

Created by a team at Boston University, the substance has a honey-like consistency. It’s made up of a blend of naturally-sourced biopolymers along with its key ingredient, carbon dioxide. By varying the polymer-to-CO2 ratio, it’s possible to adjust the sticking strength, which can range from that of Scotch tape to permanent wood glue. It’s additionally possible to tweak the material’s ability to stick to different types of surfaces, some of which could reportedly include metal, glass, wood, and Teflon.

The adhesive can also stick to wet surfaces, plus it’s biocompatible. This means that it could conceivably be used as a surgical glue within the body, and as an alternative to bandages for closing external wounds.

Whatever it does end up being used for, the adhesive should harmlessly break down in the environment within no more than a year after being discarded. And as added benefit, it could put industrial carbon dioxide emissions to good use.

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