Fuel Byproducts Make Good Glue

April 12, 2007
Paul Weimer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Weimer hopes to get the lumber industry interested in replacing half of the phenol formaldehyde (PF), a petroleum-based adhesive now used to make plywood, with a biomass-based adhesive.

Julie Kalista
Online Editor

Researchers are working with adhesive scientists to develop a wood glue made from fermentation residue of ethanol production.
He has been researching the byproducts from the ethanol-making process, and believes the fermentation residue may be more valuable than the ethanol.

Weimer and his team determined that organisms used to convert biomass stick to cellulose fibers with a glue-like substance called glycocalyx. "Because the glue couldn't be removed from the fibers without destroying the glue, we took the entire mixture - the glue, bacteria, and the rest of the cellulosic biomass - and used it as an adhesive," says Weimer. Specifically, they used it as wood glue.

To explore glue's potential as a commercial product, the team tested it with the help of researchers at the USDA Forest Products Lab. Their primary concern is durability in wet conditions.

Although glycocalyx does fall apart once wet, Weimer's team found that when mixed with another petroleum-based resin it works well. In some tests, researchers have successfully used a mix with up to 73% of the resin replaced with the bio-based adhesive. Researchers still have to see if the process can be scaled up for commercial production.

"The PF the fermentation process would partially replace sells for considerably more than ethanol, and the fermentation would still generate ethanol," says Weimer. But economic incentive is not the only draw to the biomass glue, it also keeps alfalfa, with all it's environmental benefits, on the landscape.

More Information:
University of Wisconsin-Madison

This web-only article appears in the Fastening & Joining e-newsletter. If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more like it, sign up today for our free e-mail newsletters!

Sponsored Recommendations

How BASF turns data into savings

May 7, 2024
BASF continuously monitors the health of 63 substation assets — with Schneider’s Service Bureau and EcoStruxure™ Asset Advisor. ►Learn More: https://www.schn...

Agile design thinking: A key to operation-level digital transformation acceleration

May 7, 2024
Digital transformation, aided by agile design thinking, can reduce obstacles to change. Learn about 3 steps that can guide success.

Can new digital medium voltage circuit breakers help facilities reduce their carbon footprint?

May 7, 2024
Find out how facility managers can easily monitor energy usage to create a sustainable, decarbonized environment using digital MV circuit breakers.

The Digital Thread: End-to-End Data-Driven Manufacturing

May 1, 2024
Creating a Digital Thread by harnessing end-to-end manufacturing data is providing unprecedented opportunities to create efficiencies in the world of manufacturing.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!