Nav: Home

Adhesive which debonds in magnetic field could reduce landfill waste

November 04, 2019

Researchers at the University of Sussex have developed a glue which can unstick when placed in a magnetic field, meaning products otherwise destined for landfill, could now be dismantled and recycled at the end of their life.

Currently, items like mobile phones, microwaves and car dashboards are assembled using adhesives. It is a quick and relatively cheap way to make products but, due to problems dismantling the various materials for different recycling methods, most of these products will be destined for landfill.

However, Dr Barnaby Greenland, Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry, working in conjunction with Stanelco RF Technologies Ltd and Prof Wayne Hayes at the University of Reading, may have found a solution.

In a new research paper, published by the European Polymer Journal, Dr Greenland and the team describe a new type of adhesive which contains tiny particles of metal. When passed through an alternating electromagnetic field, the glue melts and products simply fall apart.

The adhesive works with plastic, wood, glass and metal and in terms of strength, is comparable to those currently used in industry.

Dr Greenland said: "In as little as 30 seconds, we can unstick items using a relatively weak magnetic field.

"A power source connected to an inductor creates the electro-magnetic field which produces heat in the metal particles within the glue and effectively melts it so that the various materials that were previously held together are separated.

"There's little glue residue left over - although this wouldn't be a problem for metal objects which are melted down for recycling anyway.

"Using these specific levels of magnetic field to heat is also incredibly safe. The energy only heats the metal specks in the glue, so we could place our bare hands in the field and feel absolutely no heat at all."

In principle, the formula could be applied to any thermal adhesive making it an innovation which could be incorporated into industry relatively easily.

Dr Greenland said: "In essence, we could have a big conveyor belt of products going through a magnetic field where they enter fully assembled, and come out the other end completely dismantled.

"We're really excited because the glue has provided a simple and green solution to quite a large problem. At the moment, glued products can often only be dismantled using chemicals so not only are we saving items from going to landfill, but we're also reducing the need to use potentially harmful substances when it comes to getting rid of products."

The team have also demonstrated that this heating technique can be used to stick items together, and as the project continues, efforts will focus on investigating this process further.
-end-


University of Sussex

Related Magnetic Field Articles:

Global magnetic field of the solar corona measured for the first time
An international team led by Professor Tian Hui from Peking University has recently measured the global magnetic field of the solar corona for the first time.
Magnetic field of a spiral galaxy
A new image from the VLA dramatically reveals the extended magnetic field of a spiral galaxy seen edge-on from Earth.
How does Earth sustain its magnetic field?
Life as we know it could not exist without Earth's magnetic field and its ability to deflect dangerous ionizing particles.
Scholes finds novel magnetic field effect in diamagnetic molecules
The Princeton University Department of Chemistry publishes research this week proving that an applied magnetic field will interact with the electronic structure of weakly magnetic, or diamagnetic, molecules to induce a magnetic-field effect that, to their knowledge, has never before been documented.
Origins of Earth's magnetic field remain a mystery
The existence of a magnetic field beyond 3.5 billion years ago is still up for debate.
New research provides evidence of strong early magnetic field around Earth
New research from the University of Rochester provides evidence that the magnetic field that first formed around Earth was even stronger than scientists previously believed.
Massive photons in an artificial magnetic field
An international research collaboration from Poland, the UK and Russia has created a two-dimensional system -- a thin optical cavity filled with liquid crystal -- in which they trapped photons.
Adhesive which debonds in magnetic field could reduce landfill waste
Researchers at the University of Sussex have developed a glue which can unstick when placed in a magnetic field, meaning products otherwise destined for landfill, could now be dismantled and recycled at the end of their life.
Earth's last magnetic field reversal took far longer than once thought
Every several hundred thousand years or so, Earth's magnetic field dramatically shifts and reverses its polarity.
A new rare metals alloy can change shape in the magnetic field
Scientists developed multifunctional metal alloys that emit and absorb heat at the same time and change their size and volume under the influence of a magnetic field.
More Magnetic Field News and Magnetic Field Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.