John Garner

PLA from PolySciTech used in development of biodegradable adhesives

Blog Post created by John Garner on Feb 7, 2019

Siebert, 2019 biodegradable adhesive polyscitech.jpg

Most glues are petroleum based, which creates an environmental concern due to lack of degradation. One method to avoid this is to use adhesives which are generated from renewable resources. Recently, researchers at Purdue University used PLA (AP138) from PolySciTech ( as part of research on high molecular-weight biodegradable adhesives. This research holds promise for improving adhesive performance in a wide-array of applications in an environmentally responsible manner. Read more: Siebert, Heather M., and Jonathan J. Wilker. "Improving the Molecular Weight and Synthesis of a Renewable Biomimetic Adhesive Polymer." European Polymer Journal (2019).


“Highlights: A bio-based adhesive system is presented to provide an alternative to petroleum-derived glues. Improvements to the synthesis of this polymer system have been achieved. Bonding is shown to depend upon polymer molecular weight and dispersity. Abstract: Renewable materials are in demand to replace the petroleum-based glues we use on a daily basis. Such substitutions will not take place until bio-based adhesives can meet or exceed the performance of current materials. Work presented here examines several chemical parameters in order to improve the molecular weight and synthetic strategy for a polymer that combines polylactic acid with mussel mimicking catechol, (“catechol-PLA”). Altering the polymerization time as well as the deprotection time and temperature afforded better control over both molecular weights and yields. Dispersity and molecular weight were shown to both be parameters tunable to improve adhesion strength. Cross-linking with iron improved the adhesion of low molecular weight polymers, bringing performance up to that of the longer chain counterparts. Such cross-linking and molecular weight effects were seen to alter the balance of adhesive and cohesive interactions. Such development and understanding of renewable polymer systems may help to hasten future competition with petroleum-based adhesive”


Biotech, Pharma, Cancer, Research (BPCR) is a free, 1-day scientific networking conference happening in Purdue Research Park Aug 28, 2019. See more and register to attend at