Enhancing the Performance of High Soy Content Adhesives with Lactide Macromonomers
AdhesivesCommercializationIndustrial UsesOil
Parent Project:
This is the first year of this project.
Lead Principal Investigator:
Steve Severtson, University of Minnesota
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:
By late 2023, we aim to scale up adhesives containing 30-50 wt.% soy-derived monomers that demonstrate enhanced properties achieved with lactide MMs and CNCs. The initial focus will be water-based PSAs for the tape and label market, eventually expanding to other adhesive markets producing an estimated consumption of 1000 to 2500 million lbs. monomer (equating to 60 to 160 million bushels of soybeans). If successful, our approach could provide a blueprint for other materials such as coating binders, plastics, and inks containing soy monomers, significantly surpassing our initial estimates of soybean demand for latex products.
Information And Results
Project Summary

Project Objectives

Project Deliverables

Progress Of Work

Final Project Results

The project team is developing pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) with high soybean oil content that match or exceed commercial formulations' performance properties. The project's initial year established that such formulations were achievable at the lab scale, meeting or exceeding project KPIs with multiple formulations. We are moving from laboratory synthesis to scalable approaches, eventually leading to commercial vessel batches. We have also included PSAs containing soy-derived components in our fungal biodegradation testing program, and we are exploring the use of soybean hulls as an inexpensive source of additives, such as reinforcing nanoparticles. Furthermore, in collaboration with our industrial partners, we are adapting the developed techniques and monomers to other commercial products. During the second year of our project, we made significant strides to bring our laboratory discoveries to scalable processes. With our focus on macroemulsion polymerization, we successfully upscaled our PSA formulations, achieving synthesis volumes of up to 2 L, which, according to our industry partners at Franklin International, is a critical benchmark for pilot-scale trials. Introducing methyl-ß-cyclodextrin (MeßCD) as a monomer phase-transfer agent was instrumental in retaining the desired adhesive performance. Our efforts in biodegradation intensified, and we established the "Biodegradation Screening and Test Facility." Supported by the Department of Defense and the Center for Sustainable Polymers, we project that this facility will be operational by spring 2024, serving as an asset for rapidly identifying microorganisms capable of degrading developed materials. One of the notable achievements this year was the development of the "Direct" method, a single-step process to extract cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) from raw materials. Through this innovative approach, we streamlined the isolation of CNCs from soybean hulls, marking both efficiency gains and cost reductions. This advancement has led to our endeavors to expand the applications of soy-derived composite materials, particularly in food packaging. We are pursuing a collaboration with the Natural Resource Research Center (NRRI), which showed a keen interest in the commercial possibilities of our materials. Discussions are underway to access their pilot facilities, which possess the resources necessary to assess the commercial potential of CNCs sourced from soybean hulls. In summary, our second year saw us transition from laboratory work to scalable PSA development, paving the way for commercial applications, pursuing promising applications with soy-based raw materials, and expanding our collaborations, setting us on a good trajectory for the future of this project.

Benefit To Soybean Farmers

With the global PSA market projected to reach USD 12.8 billion by 2025, the shift towards environmentally conscious materials is palpable. Recent estimates presented at the 2023 TAP meeting suggest a potential increase in soybeans by 60 to 160 million bushels with the adoption of soy-containing hybrid adhesive materials. Capitalizing on this trajectory, we are developing hybrid PSA polymers containing fatty-acid-derived monomers integrated with CNCs sourced from soybean hulls. This innovative approach not only leverages the robustness of current technologies but also paves the way for more sustainable alternatives, directly benefiting U.S. soy farmers through a projected surge in soy demand. The industry's tilt towards bio-sourced content, evident from stringent European mandates, is anticipated to set a precedent for global adoption. Our internal estimates forecast that as our adhesive technologies gain traction, their utilization in other consumer products could increase to 15% in the next five years. Our overarching strategy prioritizes tapping into renewable soy resources while accentuating end-of-life material degradability. Through our research, we are sculpting a vision for a near future where sustainability seamlessly integrates as a default in consumer product choices.

The United Soybean Research Retention policy will display final reports with the project once completed but working files will be purged after three years. And financial information after seven years. All pertinent information is in the final report or if you want more information, please contact the project lead at your state soybean organization or principal investigator listed on the project.