New Glue Turns Into Gas When It Needs to Dissolve

This next generation adhesive holds super strong and releases just as easily.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The glue is strong enough to hold a person, but can be released without force.Nicholas Blelloch, Dartmouth College

We have all faced the dilemma. We need to glue something sturdily but super glues can be pesky as they also stick to your hands, hair, and anywhere else they may fall. What if we could have a super glue that is powerful when it comes to sticking things together but can be turned into a gas when they need to be released?

That's the invention of a bunch of Dartmouth researchers. “This temporary adhesive works in an entirely different way than other adhesives,” said in a statement Katherine Mirica, an assistant professor of chemistry at Dartmouth.

“This innovation will unlock new manufacturing strategies where on-demand release from adhesion is required.”

The novel work is based on molecular solids, a class of adhesive materials that exist as crystals and can shift directly from a solid to a gas without passing through a liquid phase (the key to these new adhesives). To remove these new adhesives all you have to do is heat them up in a vacuum environment.

“The use of sublimation—the direct transition from solid to vapor—is valuable because it offers gentle release from adhesion without the use of solvent or mechanical force,” said Mirica.

The first to identify their potential

According to the Dartmouth researchers, previous work from the institute was the first to identify how molecular solids can act as these next-generation adhesives. Now, they have identified more candidates on the list of the class of molecules that can be used to make these innovative super glues.

“We’ve expanded the list of molecules that can be used as temporary adhesives,” said Nicholas Blelloch, a PhD candidate at Dartmouth and first author of the paper. “Identifying more materials to work with is important because it offers expanded design strategies for bonding surfaces together.”

Although you likely won't be seeing this new glue at a supermarket near you, there are strong chances it will be showing up in semiconductor manufacturing and drug development.

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