Zero-Zero Adhesives

Low-odor adhesives push petrochemical-based products towards their inevitable extinction


Why would an adhesives manufacturer whose existing product line is already low emitting – less than 5 grams per liter – bother trying to develop a zero-VOC, zero-formaldehyde alternative? “This is the natural evolution for us,” explains Sheryl Southwell of Specialty Polymers Inc., which makes the Roo Glue line of adhesives. “Our experience and knowledge of polymers really helps us create adhesives that meet specific performance requirements or achieve specific environmental goals.”

Roo is rolling out a new line-up of adhesives that will be called Roo Glue Green, and its first product is a greener version of its multi-purpose Roo Clear adhesive. The original product was created for use with melamine, vinyl, and laminates, but contractors have long used it as an all-purpose adhesive. “It is really a universal glue that works on just about anything,” said Southwell. Its green version will be called EcoClear, which is formaldehyde free and emits zero VOCs.

Roo Clear has a wide mix of users – from builders and contractors to DIYers and crafters. The challenge was to produce a new product that worked like the familiar glue they already used: the same viscosity, the same open time, the same tack, the same finished strength. “We've tested EcoClear extensively in all the same applications that the Roo Clear is used for, and the performance has been identical,” said Southwell. They've also been testing the adhesive on new materials such as sustainable counter materials.

RooGreenLabel.tifIn creating new products, most adhesive manufacturers are dependent upon outside raw material vendors to produce the ingredients they will use in their formulas. Since parent company Specialty Polymers' main business is producing polymers for paint and coatings companies, that gave the chemists at Roo Glue an important advantage. “The polymer is what's really important to the adhesive,” Southwell emphasized. “There are some adjustments you can make on the formulation side, but it is the polymer that gives a glue the majority of its properties and makes it unique.”

Reducing the formaldehyde from ‘trace' to no-trace required some serious detective work. In the polymerization process, there can be one or more catalysts which contain residual formaldehyde, so Roo examined the product's formula closely until they confirmed that every element was formaldehyde free. From the VOC standpoint, Southwell directed her team to test their materials closely to confirm that there are no components that might contribute VOCs to the final product. “We could have simply continued with our Roo Clear and told people, ‘There is no added urea formaldehyde, and no VOCs to speak of,'” said Southwell. “But formaldehyde has become a key issue right now, and I respect that. Being able to develop a product like this will let us meet the needs of people who are looking for a true zero formaldehyde product.”

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Solvent-free Polyurethane Adhesive Line

Chemique's Solfre2 is a line of zero-VOC two-component polyurethane adhesives. The line is designed for use on wood, foam, metals, and plastics, for applications such as: insulation panels, cladding, textiles, and foam laminates. Solfre2 GP is a general-purpose formulation which can be applied by spray or bead. Solfre2 HC is a spray or bead applied adhesive for use with honeycomb paneling. Solfre2 HCR is a rollable version of the Solfre2 HC. Each product is formulated for its task appropriate open time, with the cure process activated upon blending the components. Chemique also offers a full assortment of adhesive application equipment.

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Subfloor Adhesive

Miracle Lumber Lock G is 3rd party performance tested as meeting ASTM D3498 (plywood to lumber framing for floor systems) and emissions tested to earn GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification. This low-VOC formula adhesive provides durable, weatherproof bonds, even with wet or frozen lumber, and its low spatter formula helps keep the job site clean. The product is available in 28 oz. cartridges and 55 gallon drums. Lumber Lock G complies with SCAQMD Rule 1168, and it can contribute to LEED certification.

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