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Eco-Friendly Glue Receives Patent

An eco-friendly adhesive designed by a Cal Poly chemistry research team in collaboration with Geisys Ventures has been approved for a U.S. government patent.

A close-up view of debondable glue sticks designed by Cal Poly Professor Phil Costanzo and his students.
A close-up view of debondable glue sticks designed by Cal Poly Professor Phil Costanzo and his students.

The new adhesive has the potential to reduce landfill waste and positively impact the environment on a broad scale.

The product, to be formally commercialized under the name D-Glue (for “debondable glue”), was created by Cal Poly chemistry Professor Phil Costanzo and Kris Stokes, CEO of Geisys Ventures

The chemists are continuing research and development of the new adhesive with assistance from a team of Costanzo’s undergraduate students in Cal Poly’s Bailey College of Science and Mathematics. 

The aim of the partnership is to launch the new adhesive broadly as a commercial product, offering companies a glue that makes it economically feasible to recycle valuable components that are currently ending up in landfills. 

The patent establishes the team's ownership and intellectual property of the technology for use across multiple industries and global market sectors, including apparel, electronics and energy (for use in products such as wind turbines and solar cells). Moreover, the public-private partnership is the basis of a joint commercial venture.

“This step validates our work as a relevant industrial process,” Costanzo said. “Many people are trying to do this in polymer science, and we’ve been one of the early adopters of this idea. The concept of design for disassembly is still relatively new.”

Extreme heat is typically required to separate recyclable materials from the glue currently in use, and often the cost is prohibitive, discouraging reclamation that saves waste and environmental pollution. D-Glue is designed so that it can be broken apart at lower temperatures, requiring much less energy, while maintaining the integrity of the item.

Currently, Geisys Ventures is in talks with multiple prospective corporations and product manufacturers on the use of the glue for commercial and industrial applications. 

“We hope our product will help companies to improve their yields and have materials that you can repair by pulling them apart instead of just discarding them as waste,” Stokes said. “Salvaging old materials will be really beneficial to the environment and the circular economy."

Costanzo and Stokes, who have known each other since they were chemistry undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, invented the adhesive over the past few years using a sequence of bonds that link one polymer chain to another, referred to as Diels-Alder linkages, into the product.

Polymers are substances with large molecules and are the basis of many living organisms and manmade materials.

 

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