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University of Sussex Researchers Synthesize Adhesive Which Can Unstick when put in Magnetic Field

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

At the moment, gadgets like cell phones, microwaves, and automobile dashboards are assembled using adhesives. It’s a fast and relatively low-cost way to make merchandise but, on account of problems dismantling the various supplies for different recycling strategies, most of those products can be destined for landfill.

Nevertheless, Dr. Barnaby Greenland, Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry, working alongside Stanelco RF Technologies and Prof Wayne Hayes at the University of Reading, might have discovered a solution.

In a new paper, published by the European Polymer Journal, Dr. Greenland and the group show a new type of adhesive, which has minute particles of metal. When passed through an alternating electromagnetic field, the glue melts, and merchandise merely falls apart.

The adhesive works with plastic, wood, glass, and metal, and when it comes to strength, is corresponding to these presently utilized in industry.

In principle, the method could be utilized to any thermal adhesive making it an innovation that might be incorporated into industry easily.

Dr. Greenland said: “In essence, we could have a giant conveyor belt of products through a magnetic field where they enter fully assembled, and come out the other end fully disassembled.

The group has further shown that this heating technique can be utilized to stick items together, and as the research continues, efforts will focus on investigating this procedure further.

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