Waterbased Adhesives Research
Gaps in Research
Research on waterbased adhesive alternatives to solvent-based adhesives is ongoing. There are several opportunities for further study as part of this research:
CASE STUDIES. Documented examples of large, medium, and small manufacturers that obtained quantifiable benefits such as reduced operating cost, reduced hazard insurance premiums, reduced regulatory burdens (such as avoiding Title V air permits and hazardous waste disposal charges), avoided emissions control systems, and/or reduced OSHA requirements. This information would be critical for businesses to fully compare waterbased adhesives to conventional solvent-based systems. In addition, since there is a wide range of industries that use adhesives, a comprehensive evaluation of adhesive options for an industry-specific area would be useful. Also valuable would be a comparison and analysis of the various alternatives to solvent-based adhesives (e.g., waterbased, hot melt, radiant-cured), to one another as well as with solvent-based adhesives.
OPERATIONAL COSTS. Comparisons of energy consumption per unit of output for solvent-based systems and waterbased adhesive technologies would be helpful for businesses to compare each alternative thoroughly. Little information was available in the literature to support general statements about the energy consumption characteristics of the alternative systems.
Studies of more efficient adhesive delivery and application equipment are needed in order to reduce the amount of time that is required for waterbased adhesive systems to reach steady state conditions during a production run. For example, improving the efficiency of waterbased adhesive delivery and application equipment would reduce the amount of out-of-spec paper backing waste that is generated during application runs, and would make waterbased systems more feasible for shorter application runs.
There are two areas of study that would be helpful for wastewater reduction: (a) The feasibility of reusing first flush or rinse waters, without cleaning agents, from production line rinsing operations as makeup water for adhesive mixtures, and (b) using closed-loop wash water recycling systems for cleaning water. A current concern with wastewater is that it is a source of microbes and bacteria that can clog application systems. A related research need is the use of UV light or ozone as an alternative to chemicals for sterilizing water before reuse.
TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENTS. Further exploration of solutions to settling or separation problems with adhesive emulsions, foaming caused by excessive agitation, viscosity control, and/or maintaining coating thickness would also be helpful. (Ref. 6) Also, continued evaluation and redesign of adhesive application equipment to reduce the amount of waste adhesive material generated during the coating process would be useful regardless of the technology chosen. (Ref. 22)
Finally, as another alternative to solvent-based adhesives, the further study of the use of natural adhesives, for example starch or dextrin-based adhesives in paper board packaging, including cost and performance information, would be helpful. (Ref. 6)
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